An extremely rare antelope calf has been born at Marwell Zoo in Hampshire.
The one-month-old scimitar-horned oryx, named Freya, is thriving say keepers and enjoys running around the large paddock she shares with her parents Christina and Tenzi, and white rhinos, Grevy’s zebra and ostrich.
“The calves will hide for the first few days, which is why their pelage (hair) is sand coloured and replaced with a white coat as they grow,” says Marwell Zoo’s Hoofstock Team Leader Tim Rowlands.
“After the first week, the calf follows the dam as she calls her to explore new areas but she’s not at the age to venture too far on her own just yet. However, calves are able to run as fast as the adults as early as 20 days old and she has been enjoying running around in the paddock.”
Declared ‘extinct in the wild’ in 2000, the birth of the scimitar-horned oryx is great news for the threatened species, which is reliant on captive breeding and reintroduction efforts for its continued survival.
Conservation Biologist Dr Tania Gilbert, said: “The scimitar-horned oryx was one of the first species we brought to Marwell Zoo in November 1971. Since then, we’ve had 378 births here, making the species one of our biggest success stories in terms of breeding and conservation success.
“We have reintroduced groups of oryx into protected areas in Tunisia to re-establish them in their natural habitat and we continue to research the re-established populations and protect the areas where they live.”
Marwell Zoo is open to the public from Monday 12th April. For information on booking go to www.marwell.org.uk