Today’s uncommon creature is the critically endangered saiga antelope (suggested by Dream of the Scribble Fiend). Habitat loss and illegal hunting have dramatically cut population numbers, but the odd face and bulbous nose of this creature makes it unlikely he would ever be the start of conversation posters. The large humped nose looks super strange but it actually serves a pretty important purpose. Since the nose is flexible and inflatable it helps the animal to breathe clean air during dusty summers and warm air during cold winters.
The saiga antelope can be found on the Asian continent in only three locations: Kalmykia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia. The horn of the saiga antelope is thought to have therapeutic properties and was used in traditional Chinese medicine, effectively wiping out the population in China. In Singapore, merchants are selling “Cooling Water” right alongside other herbal drinks. However, the magic ingredient in this water, which is thought to contain wondrous properties to bring down one’s “heatiness,” are horn shavings from the endangered saiga antelope. Since only males have horns, this has caused a collapse in reproductive rates in the wild.
Unlike deer antlers that fall off every year, antelope antlers are permanent. Sadly, most consumers believe the horns are found naturally and are obtained without killing the creature. This is not at all the case, and the people actually selling the product are well aware of the short supply. So the tourists and locals are basically beating the heat by sipping on an endangered antelope. File this under crazy, but true. Some humans never cease to amaze in their stunning stupidity, perhaps making them, not the animals, the most uncommon creatures of all.