Marwell Zoo has announced the birth of an ‘extinct-in-the-wild’ scimitar-horned oryx calf.
The female, born on 27th October, has been named Belle by keepers and is the third calf born at Marwell this year.
One of the most threatened antelopes in the world, the once abundant scimitar-horned oryx only exists today because it has been bred in captivity.
Conservation charity Marwell Wildlife, which owns and operates Marwell Zoo, has been instrumental in the preservation and reintroduction of this incredibly rare species.
Marwell Wildlife’s Conservation Biologist, Tania Gilbert, said; “The scimitar-horned oryx was one of the first species we brought to Marwell Zoo when we opened in 1972. Since then we’ve had an incredible 366 calves born here, making them one of our biggest success stories, both in terms of breeding and conservation success.
“Our scimitar-horned oryx have been transported as far as Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, but most importantly we’ve reintroduced groups of oryx into protected areas in Tunisia to re-establish them in their natural habitat. We continue to research the re-established populations and work to enhance the biodiversity of the protected areas where they live.”
The Tunisian reintroductions began with 10 scimitar-horned oryx in 1985, followed by further releases in 1999 and 2007. There are now 220 wild-born scimitar-horned oryx occurring across five protected areas, marking an important milestone in the re-establishment of this species.
For more information on visiting Marwell Zoo go to www.marwell.org.uk