The International Union for Conservation of Nature listed the saola as critically endangered in 2003. The organization estimates there are less than 100 saola left in the wild.
Illegal hunting is the primary threat to Saola conservation. Traps used to catch other animals in the saola's range, including civets, deer and wild boar, can also kill saolas.
The other issue is a lack of understanding regarding of the saola's distribution and habitat preferences. The Saola Working Group uses camera traps, dung analysis and interviews with locals to learn more about saola, but without a captive breeding program, the species remains incredibly vulnerable.
“This is an opportunity to save a species from extinction. Saving saola is a resource problem, not a technical one,” said Lorraine Scotson, CEO of the Saola Foundation, in a press release.