Rare mammal saola captured on camera for first time in 15 years

The rare saola was pictured in Vietnam. Credit: WWF

One of the rarest mammals on the planet was photographed in the wild for the first time in 15 years.

Pictures of the endangered saola were captured by a camera set up in Vietnam by the WWF and the country's Forest Protection Department.

The mammal is threatened by extinction due to illegal hunting in Vietnam. Credit: WWF

The mammal is threatened with extinction mainly due to hunting with 30,000 traps removed from the area since 2011.

The wildlife charity and Vietnamese government have worked on a conservation plan to help save the elusive mammal, with forest guards from the local community being appointed to help remove snares and stop illegal hunting.

Since the saola's discovery in 1992, the rare mammal has only been documented in the wild by scientists on four occasions.

The mammal is a cousin of cattle but resembles antelope and is distinguished by its long horns and white facial markings.

The saola is usually found near Vietnam's border with Laos. Credit: WWF

The saola is usually found in the forests near Vietnam's border with Laos and little is known about the mammal's ecology or behaviour.

There are only thought to be at maximum a few hundred saolas left in the world but possibly as few as a few dozen.