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Record year for birth of desert antelopes.

They are key part of conservation work

Al Ain The year 2010 saw a bumper harvest of desert antelopes born in Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort's (AWPR).

The highly threatened animals are a key part of conservation work and as such, a number of conservation initiatives are moving ahead at AWPR.

The year 2010 marked one of AWPR's best recorded years for antelope births. A record number of young antelope were raised including 16 Scimitar-horned oryx, 27 Arabian oryx, ten Beisa oryx, four Addax, three Chad dama gazelles, six Mhorr dama gazelles and six Speke's gazelles.

The Scimitar-horned oryx and Mhorr gazelle are extinct in the wild and only survive in captivity, making AWPR's herds extraordinarily valuable.

Declining population

The Addax survives with fewer than 300 individuals in the wild. The Beisa oryx, native to the dry lands of North East Africa, is declining rapidly, already extinct in Eritrea and Uganda and with populations rapidly declining in Kenya.

The Arabian oryx at AWPR are being utilised by the Environment Agency -- Abu Dhabi (EAD) for their regional oryx conservation projects. Animals from AWPR are being reintroduced in the UAE and Jordan. AWPR veterinarians work with EAD to support the management of reintroduced animals and have recently worked with herds in UAE, Jordan and Syria.

The desert antelopes are threatened with extinction by a history of uncontrolled hunting, continued overgrazing of their arid habitats, disease and climate change.

Working with the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, AWPR is undertaking a genetic analysis of its antelope herds to assess their relationships to other zoo populations and to identify strategies for their long-term genetic management.

16

Scimitar-horned oryx raised

27

Arabian oryx raised in Al Ain

Al Ain

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Jan 9, 2011
Words:301
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