Trappers Push Endangered ‘Asian Unicorn’ To Near Extinction

The saola, also known as the “Asian unicorn,” is likely fast disappearing, conservationists warned in an announcement today, and they say there could be only 200, or even as few as just several dozen of the animals left on the planet.

The saola is a small, horned animal that resembles a strange antelope hybrid, but is more closely related to a type of wild cow. Vietnamese scientists first identified the new species only through the bizarre, horned skulls that villagers living near the animal’s range had collected.

Stark markings on the face, long, graceful horns and a tufted tail lend to the animal’s mystique. But according to Barney Long, an Asian species expert for the conservation organization WWF, the creature got its mythical moniker more for its habits than its looks.

“It’s so rare to see that it would almost be like seeing a unicorn,” Long told OurAmazingPlanet in 2011, when a protected area for saola was created in Vietnam.

These secretive ungulates wander the steamy green forests of South Asia’s Annamite Mountains, where poaching is rampant. Although saola themselves are not prized in the wildlife trade or for their meat, many of their neighbors are. And although the rare creatures are caught and killed by snares, scientists have never observed them in the wild. The rare saola that has been captured alive has quickly died.

Conservationists said it’s encouraging that saola are not a direct target for poachers, and offered hope that the critically endangered animals can be saved.

Are environmental groups doing enough to prevent the extinction of the “Asian unicorn”? Tell us what you think!

Source: Yahoo News

Image: Animal SOS!

Mexico Cartel Security Chief Captured

The head of security for one of the World’s Most Wanted men, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, head of the Sinaloa drug cartel, has been captured, The Mexican army have announced. Felipe Cabrera Sarabia also known as “El Inge” (the engineer), was captured in the Sinaloa state capital of Culiacán and will be presented to the media on Monday morning, the army said.

Guzmán, Mexico’s top drug lord, is one of the world’s richest men, and has eluded authorities by moving around and hiding since his 2001 escape from prison in a laundry truck.

The army said the man they had arrested also ran cartel activities in Durango and southern Chihuahua state, and was responsible for carrying out secret burials of cartel victims, kidnapping, extortion and arson. They did not say if the arrest moved the military closer to capturing Guzmán, an arrest that would be seen as a major victory for the government of President Felipe Calderón.

Guzmán is worth more than $1 billion, according to Forbes magazine, which has listed him among the “World’s Most Powerful People.” He has a $7 million bounty on his head, and thousands of law enforcement agents from the US and other countries working on capturing him.

His cartel controls cocaine trafficking on the Mexican border with California and has moved eastward to the corridor between the Mexican state of Sonora, which borders Arizona.


Source: The Telegraph

Image: National Post