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Every Arabian tahr birth is a milestone.

Al Ain: Every Arabian tahr born at the Management of Nature Conservation (MNC) is precious, but there is one birth that officials will never forget.

Peter Arras, site manager and keeper of the tahr at MNC, said a male tahr born on September 14 gave him the biggest scare of his life.

The German, who has a hands-on approach to his work, said: "At 11.10pm, the baby came out and I went to call Mr Willie, our manager, because he immediately gets a message whenever a baby is born."

After the call, Arras went to check on the newborn. That was when he noticed that something was amiss.

"Its legs were shivering and the placenta covered its head. I removed the placenta and realised the tahr was not breathing. I had just told Mr Willie that the baby was alive and now it was dead," Arras said.

Controlling his panic, Arras tried ti resuscitate the tahr by breathing into its mouth and pumping its chest. "Slowly, it came back to life," Arras said.

Five weeks later, the tahr (named Willie after MNC's manager), was strong and healthy. "He was meant to survive," Arras said.

Willie's is just one of the many heart-warming stories of tahr births at the centre. Every birth is such a big moment that most tahrs are named after their keepers, who treat them like their own children. The names are creative. There is Bullet, Muchnoon (Arabic for aACAycrazy') and Roshian.

Khalis, the world's first tahr born through artificial insemination, is one of the centre's favourites. The two-year-old male has the strength, agility and speed of any other male tahr. When Gulf News visited his enclosure, he was in the mood for some fancy acrobatics and enjoyed the attention.

Arras finds the tahrs much more clever than a goat or sheep. "They don't have a problem if their horns get stuck in a wire, for example. They know how to get out. The tahr never gets stuck anywhere," he said. "The more you know the species, the more you learn to love them."

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Jan 4, 2014
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