3-7 June, 2013, Vientiane, Lao PDR
Thirty-four participants from 24 institutions joined the 3rd meeting of the Saola Working Group (SWG) of the IUCN Asian Wild Cattle Specialist Group, held 3-7 June 2013 in Vientiane, Lao PDR.
The SWG meeting was preceded, ten days earlier, by preparatory, one-day, national Saola meetings, in each of Lao PDR and Vietnam.
The SWG meeting agenda focused on four topics:
- Information sharing on current Saola status and conservation efforts
- Improving protection at key Saola sites
- Detection of Saola, and how to do it
- Captive management of Saola.
The principal outcomes of the meeting were:
An SWG goal for Saola protection:
The Saola Working Group’s protection goal is zero active snares (and other traps that pose risk to Saola), zero domestic hunting dogs and zero illegal firearms in priority Saola areas.
A consensus decision to immediately begin the necessary preparations to establish a captive ‘insurance population’ of Saola.
The decision was framed by drafting an SWG statement on Saola captive management, which reads in part:
...The IUCN SSC and its Saola Working Group (SWG) recommends moving forward immediately to establish a captive population of Saola to maximize the likelihood of saving the species, under the following conditions:
The sole purpose of an ex situ population management program will be non-commercial captive breeding for eventual supplementation of wild populations, holding a stable insurance population ex situ, and filling critical knowledge gaps on the Saola to improve in situ conservation efforts;
World-best practice under the guidance of world-best expertise will be employed. This will require a level of conservation commitment, expertise and resources that will be exceptional for the region;
International institutions with best practice in the captive management of endangered ungulates must work in close partnership with range governments;
The captive management program will be additive, and specifically will not subtract significant resources and attention from vital in situ conservation efforts.
A 12-month worklist to move these and other meeting decisions forward.
Click here for a report on the proceedings of the meeting