Recognize this guy? No one's seen him for 15 years, but out of nowhere, he decided to show his face.
This week, the saola, one of the rarest and most threatened mammals on the planet according to the World Wildlife Fund, was spotted in Vietnam for the first time in in the 21st century by a camera trap set by WWF and the Vietnamese government's Forest Protection Department.
"This is a monumental find and comes at a critical moment in time for saola conservation," Dr. Barney Long, Director, Species Conservation Program at WWF, said on the organization's website. "It's a huge reward for decades of tireless work by the provincial government that established the saola reserve, community snare removal teams and WWF biologists. Now it's time to double our efforts to recover this iconic species."
The saola is a cousin to the cow and most closely resembles an antelope. Since 2011, forest guard patrols have removed more than 30,000 snares from its habitat in an effort to circumvent extinction.
"These are the most important wild animal photographs taken in Asia, and perhaps the world, in at least the past decade," said William Robichaud, Coordinator of the Saola Working Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission.
They asked the saola what he's been doing all this time, but he said he wasn't ready to talk about it.