Robichaud W. G. 1998.
Physical and behavioral description of a captive saola, Pseudoryx nghetinhensis
Journal of Mammalogy 79: 394-405
Since the discovery of the saola, Pseudoryx nghetinhensis, in central Vietnam in 1992, little has been learned about this new bovid’s behavior or ecology, and its taxonomic position remains in question; some place it in the subfamily Bovinae, others in Caprinae. In January 1996, a pregnant females was captured in central Laos and placed in a nearby menagerie. This was the first adult saola seen by the outside world and provided an opportunity to gather basic information about the species. The animal survived 18 days, during which time notes were made of her maxillary glands and presence of pored skin nodules corresponding to white markings on the face. The saola exhibited remarkably tame behavior among humans, but intense stereotyped reactions toward domestic dogs. Characteristics such as round pupils and presence of mammae fell more into the pattern of Bovinae than Caprinae. Other traits such as unique development of the maximillary gland were unlike either subfamily. This was among thirteen saola known to have been captured in Vietnam and Laos since 1994, all of which soon died except one that was released. Consequently, basic field studies of the animal’s requirements should probably any further attempts at live capture.
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