19 Apr 2011

Vietnam to protect rare antelope

11:12 am on 19 April 2011

Vietnam is setting up a nature reserve to protect one of the world's rarest animals - an antelope-like creature called the saola.

It intends to create a 160 square kilometre near the border with Laos for the animal, which is also commonly known as the Asian unicorn.

The BBC reports the existence of the saola was confirmed only two decades ago and sightings are very rare.

There are no saola in captivity and no scientist has ever reported seeing one in the wild.

Photographs that do exist have been taken by villagers.

The director of Quang Nam's forest bureau says the reserve area was home to an estimated 50 to 60 of the animals.

Wildlife experts say the reserve could be vital to its survival.