SQU research to help save Arabian tahr at Oman.Muscat: The Arabian tahr, or ibex, could soon be removed from the endangered species list, thanks to ground-breaking research at SQU SQU Sultan Qaboos University (Oman)
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Dr Senan Baqir, from the Department of Biology at SQU, led a team of researchers who successfully collected semen from the male ibexes which can now be used to impregnate im·preg·nate
1. To make pregnant; to cause to conceive; inseminate.
2. To fertilize an ovum.
3. To fill throughout; saturate. the "super-ovulated" females.
The embryos can be transferred to surrogate mothers.
"For the first time, semen was collected from the ibexes successful. We have proven that the survivability sur·viv·a·ble
1. Capable of surviving: survivable organisms in a hostile environment.
2. That can be survived: a survivable, but very serious, illness. and mortality and virility Virility
See also Beauty, Masculine; Brawniness.
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"We have also, for the first time, successfully frozen those samples and they can be saved for the future," explained Baqir. "We can even transplant those extra embryos into related species, like sheep," he added.
Baqir and his team used electro ejaculation to acquire semen from male ibexes in captivity. Then they studied the samples and found they were viable for impregnating the females and that they could even been cryogenically frozen for safekeeping.
The Arabian ibex, a type of goat indigenous to Oman and the UAE, has been listed as endangered since 1894.
Current estimates place the population at less than 2000 animals, said Dr Khalid Al Rasbi, director of the Omani Wild Animals Breeding Centre, which helped with the research.
Al Rasbi said it's hard to track the animals because they are nomadic. They wander through the mountains looking for food. But he personally has noticed fewer tracks or droppings, a sure sign the numbers are dropping.
The female ibex can be artificially inseminated at any time of the year, not just their normal breeding seasons, so it would be possible to increase the population quickly, Al Rasbi said.
"Within two or three seasons we can drastically increase the number these animals," said Baqir.
This cutting-edge research could not only prevent the ibex from going extinct, but it could also be used to save other rare species in Oman, including the Arabian nimir (panther), caracal, sand fox and Arabian wolf.
"It's our responsibility to keep these creatures alive and maintain biodiversity," said Dr. Saif Al Bahry, Dean of the College of Science at SQU.
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