The Greater Mekong is also a global focus for conservation, with astounding biodiversity, acute threats, and big opportunities to make a difference.
The golden age of species discovery in the region is now, with new species found at the rate of several each week. The challenge to describe species before they are lost is a global one, but few creatures embody the difficulty of finding and saving than the Saola.
Distinct and charismatic, the Saola is so enigmatic it was only discovered by science in 1992, and almost nothing is known about it.
Hidden in the high, wet forests of the Annamite Mountains (the “spine” between Vietnam and Laos), the Saola seems to have been intensively hunted for food. It is critically endangered. Out of desperation to learn more about the species, researchers are turning to leech blood to find its traces. Luckily, the Saola is is not in demand for medicine or targeted for trade.