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Which EDGE mammal interests you more: The saola or the saiga ? (poll)

Discussion in 'Zoo Cafe' started by Onychorhynchus coronatus, 28 Jan 2021.

?

which species will you vote for ?

Poll closed 7 Feb 2021.
  1. Saiga antelope

    41.7%
  2. Saola

    58.3%
  1. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Another poll in a series for zoochatters to vote for one of two EDGE mammal species. This time it is the saiga antelope and the saola.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Both are critically endangered bovids, one from the windswept freezing Russian steppes and the other from the humid verdant jungles of Indochina, both are enigmatic and poorly known and both are threatened by overhunting and stand on the precipice of extinction.

    Which of these mammal species interests you most / will you vote for ?

    Please also feel free to write comments regarding why you made the choice and why the species you have voted for interests you more.

    Thanks !

    Look forward to seeing the results!


    Photo credits to @Shirokuma and @Zebraduiker.



     
  2. AWP

    AWP Well-Known Member

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    I voted for saiga, because I still regret not making a photo of this animal during my first visit to Köln. It was in the pre-digital camera time, so my photo opportunities were limited and I decided to spend it on "better looking" animals (well, looking back at my photos of Köln, Asian golden cat, Bengal vulture and douc langur are worth it, but sitatunga and hippo?).

    I might have seen the species in Artis in the late 1980's or earliest 1990's too, but I was a little child in that period, so I can't remember it.
     
  3. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for the vote and comment @AWP!

    So you did see this species at Köln during your first visit ?

    Do you find the ecology or appearance of the saiga more interesting than the saola ?
     
  4. Tim May

    Tim May Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Saiga antelope have always been one of my favourite species. I have fond childhood memories of seeing them in the old Deer & Cattle Sheds at London Zoo and I subsequently saw saiga in several other zoos too, most recently in Cologne. Sadly I doubt I'll ever see another saiga in a European zoo.

    Nevertheless, despite my interest in saiga, I was compelled to vote for the saola; Pseudoryx is probably the most exciting zoological discovery in my lifetime. I had to vote for it.
     
  5. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for your comment and vote @Tim May !

    Great to hear that you've seen the saiga a number of times throughout your life.

    Its strange for me to think how much more common the keeping of the saiga was in zoos in past decades.

    I agree that the discovery of the saola send shockwaves through the world, do you remember how you first found out about the discovery of this animal and when it happened ?
     
  6. Tim May

    Tim May Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I was actually on my way to a meeting at London Zoo; I bought a copy of the newspaper The Evening Standard to read on my journey and was astonished to find a short article about the newly discovered bovid. I cannot recall the exact date but it would have been in the early 1990s.
     
  7. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for sharing @Tim May !

    I think that judging by the time period that you saw it in the headlines this would have been shortly after the species was discovered by the Vietnamese colleagues of John Mckinnon.

    It really must have come as a shock to a lot of people as it was so uncharacteristic of the discovery of a new mammal species considering the size of the species and it being a bovid.
     
  8. LowlandGorilla4

    LowlandGorilla4 Well-Known Member

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    I voted Saiga due to there unique appearance and after reading about them in zoology book when I was younger. I didn't understand most of the book but was fascinated by the antelopes appearance. That being said I'm still fascinated by the Saola due to the fact it was able to remain hidden from western science for so long, similar to the Okapi (one of my favorite animals).
     
  9. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for your vote and comment @LowlandGorilla4 !

    They are a very interesting looking species aren't they ?

    Yes, the saola is a very enigmatic species indeed, have you read the book "The Last Unicorn: A Search for One of Earth's Rarest Creatures" by William du boys ?

    If you haven't I highly recommend it as it is an excellent book on the saola.
     
    LowlandGorilla4 likes this.
  10. KevinB

    KevinB Well-Known Member

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    Personally I ended up voting for the Saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis), but only by a slight margin. Both species are critically endangered and have interesting environmental stories, but the fact that the saola is a large ungulate discovered during my own lifetime and that it is so elusive pushed me over towards that species, but by very little.

    That said, the saiga (Saiga tatarica) also still fascinates me, and I actually was lucky to see this species way back in 2008, before the last individual in a Western European zoo (Cologne) died the following year. Given that the species is now only kept captive in Ukraine and Kazachstan I probably won't ever see it again, so I'm glad I had the chance once (with the saola even if I traveled to northern Vietnam I would almost certainly never had that chance). Also the saiga is one of the species that was historically kept at my local zoo, Zoo Planckendael, in an (attempted) mixed Asian steppes exhibit.

    I have actually looked up an old image from Cologne (not great) because of this thread and posted it in the gallery.


    Thank you very much for this suggestion, I'm definitely going to look this one up for a potential addition to my collection.
     
  11. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Thankyou for your comment and vote @KevinB ! Much appreciated !

    Yes, I think for exactly the same reasons I am fascinated by the saola. It is an enigma in that we simply do not know how many are left in the wild or indeed what its ecology is.

    That said, I personally voted for the saiga as these strange looking antelope fascinate me too and I believe that there is still hope when it comes to saving these whereas I think it may well be too late for the saola.

    I have only seen taxidermy specimens of the saiga at the Tring natural history museum, would love to see a live one but I think it is very unlikely that I ever will.
     
  12. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Looks like the Saola won this poll !

    Here is the famous footage obtained by William Robinchaud of "Martha" in a private Laotian zoo in the 90's to celebrate its victory in the poll:

     
    AWP likes this.