'Extinct' antelope is born at Marwell Zoo in Hampshire

A BREED of antelope thought to be extinct in the wild has been born at a Hampshire zoo, it has been announced.

The scimitar-horned oryx, named Belle, was born at Marwell Zoo on October 27, bringing the number of total calves born at the zoo to three this year.

Scimitar-horned oryxes were assessed as being ‘extinct in the wild’ by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in 2000, surviving only through breeding in captivity.

It comes following the birth of an endangered Grevy’s zebra at the zoo.

The scimitar-horned oryx. Picture: Jason Brown

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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.’

The scimitar-horned oryx. Picture: Jason Brown

According to the zoo, there are now 220 scimitar-horned oryxes living in five protected habitats – which crucially are now being born in the wild.

‘We continue to research the re-established populations and work to enhance the biodiversity of the protected areas where they live,’ added Tania.

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