Serow released from a snare trap in Saola Nature Reserve, Hue, Vietnam
The guards worked for 30 minutes to remove the wire snare from the serow’s front leg. After successfully removing the snare, the guards gave the animal a gentle prod and it sprang up and disappeared into the forest.
There are six species of serow, with the Mainland Serow (Capricornis milneedwardsii) native to China and Southeast Asia. The Mainland serow is quite large and has been known to grow to be six feet long and three feet high at the shoulder, and an adult typically weighs over 150 kg. The Mainland Serow is territorial and lives alone or in small groups. It usually stays in a small area of only a few square miles where it grazes on grass, shoots and leaves from along beaten paths. It is most active at dawn and dusk, and spends the rest of the day in thick vegetation.
There is little direct information on the status of the serow species. However, the Mainland Serow it is probably declining due to hunting for food and medicine, and so it is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List because it is believed to be in significant decline.
The Saola nature reserve forest guard team removed more than 8,000 snares and 90 illegal hunting and logging camps during a six month period last year. A wide range of animals were released from the snares, including grey-shanked douc langurs, serows, big-headed turtles, ferret badgers and wild pigs.
Management approaches in the reserve, which is home to the critically endangered saola, include an innovative forest guard model, management information system (MIST) and law enforcement activities that aim to tackle rampant poaching and illegal trade in wildlife.