Monday 18 February 2019

City zoo celebrates birth of antelope extinct in the wild

The week-old calf’s mother keeps a protective eye on him
The week-old calf’s mother keeps a protective eye on him

Dublin Zoo is celebrating the birth of one of the world's rarest creatures, a scimitar-horned oryx.

The species is classed as extinct in the wild as there has been no definitive evidence of their presence since the early 1990s.

The healthy male calf was born last Wednesday weighing around 25kg.

He brings the zoo's breeding herd to a total of seven.

The scimitar-horned oryx was once widespread across northern Africa, but due to overhunting, habitat loss and competition with domestic livestock they have disappeared.

As well as housing a breeding group, Dublin Zoo has, since 2013, financially supported the reintroduction programme for the species in Tunisia.


Through conservation breeding programmes, zoo-bred oryx have been reintroduced into semi-wild areas in four national parks across Tunisia.

There are now more than 200 oryx, a type of antelope, in such areas.

"We're so pleased to welcome our newest addition to the scimitar-horned oryx herd and recognise the impact this birth makes on the conservation efforts being made to protect this species," said Dublin Zoo team leader Helen Clarke-Bennet.

"Both mother and calf are doing extremely well.

"We're delighted to report he was up and running about just one hour after birth."

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