WWF sponsors preservation of Vietnam's rare mammal

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The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) will sponsor a project in central region's Thua Thien-Hue Province to preserve an indigenous species that is facing extinction, an official said Wednesday.


Hoang Ngoc Khanh from the province People's Committee said the US$213,773 Sao La (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis) Conservation Project will be implemented throughout next year.


The project will open two sao la reserves--121 square kilometers each--and includes long-term efforts to prevent the poaching of wild animals in the area and protect local forests.


The reserves will be linked to the 220 square kilometer Bach Ma National Park.

In 2008, WWF estimated that only around 70-1,000 of the animal inhabit the mountainous regions of Vietnam and neighboring Laos. The foundation said that, today, there are probably less than 500.


The rare mammal was first discovered in Vietnam in 1992.


The elusive relative of the cow, buffalo and goat (Bovidea family) was listed on the International Union of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN)'s Red List as endangered in 1994. In 2005, it became "critically engangered."


The creature inhabits moist evergreen forests in Laos and central Vietnam, but scientists and local residents said they have not seen a trace of sao la in Thua Thien-Hue for years.

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