Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Rare Oryx Going Into The Wild, To Help Species Recover

Date:
March 7, 2008
Source:
Smithsonian
Summary:
A male scimitar-horned oryx from the Smithsonian's National Zoo's Conservation and Research Center is playing an important role in ensuring the species does not vanish from the planet. Oryx are a type of desert antelope that are mostly white with reddish-brown necks and marks on the face and a long, dark, tufted tail. They stand up to 4 feet and 6 inches tall at the shoulder, and both male and female oryx have curved horns that grow to be several feet long.

These four scimitar-horned oryx are among the nine that were returned in December 2007 to Tunisia, where none have existed since the late 1970s. A male oryx was included in the group. The animals will eventually be reintroduced into the wild.
Credit: Tim Wacher

A male scimitar-horned oryx from the Smithsonian's National Zoo's Conservation and Research Center in Front Royal, Va., is playing an important role in ensuring the species does not vanish from the planet.

The oryx, along with eight others from American and European zoos, was sent to Tunisia in December 2007 for an eventual reintroduction into the wild, where they have not existed since the late 1970s. Oryx are a type of desert antelope that are mostly white with reddish-brown necks and marks on the face and a long, dark, tufted tail. They stand up to 4 feet and 6 inches tall at the shoulder, and both male and female oryx have curved horns that grow to be several feet long.

Although the animals have been returned to Tunisia, scientists cannot just simply release them into the wild. For now, the oryx are being kept in a 20,000-acre fenced area in the Dghoumes National Park. Within this protected zone, the five males and four females will reproduce and become acclimated to their arid surroundings. Once a sustainable population has been established, possibly a decade or so from now, the fences will come down.

Oryx were once common in the wild. As recently as 1900, there were as many as 1 million of them in North Africa. But their numbers began to dwindle as they were hunted, both for sport and food. To ensure that the same problems do not plague the oryx that are being reintroduced into the wild, the Tunisian government is planning conservation programs to educate local people about the importance of protecting the animals.

The plan to send oryx to Tunisia came about after that country approached the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and the Secretariat for the Convention on Migratory Species for help. Population managers for oryx decided which of the animals were the most genetically valuable to send to Tunisia.

Oryx from the National Zoo's Conservation and Research Center, the Kansas City Zoo, the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Texas, The Wilds in Ohio and Texas' Bamberger Ranch joined oryx from Fota Wildlife Park in Ireland and France's Le Pal Parc Animalier et D'Attractions in Tunisia in December 2007. The National Zoo's oryx will provide a significant infusion of valuable genes into the reintroduced population.

Scientists at the National Zoo's Conservation and Research Center also are continuing important research to help find ways to better manage scimitar-horned oryx, both in the wild and in zoos. National Zoo scientists pioneered artificial insemination techniques for oryx in order to ensure that genetically valuable but behaviorally incompatible pairs could reproduce.

Two oryx are on exhibit at the National Zoo, and several more oryx remain at the Conservation and Research Center.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Smithsonian. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Smithsonian. "Rare Oryx Going Into The Wild, To Help Species Recover." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 March 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080304110435.htm>.
Smithsonian. (2008, March 7). Rare Oryx Going Into The Wild, To Help Species Recover. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080304110435.htm
Smithsonian. "Rare Oryx Going Into The Wild, To Help Species Recover." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080304110435.htm (accessed October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Attacking Superbugs

Attacking Superbugs

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) — Two weapons hospitals can use to attack superbugs. Scientists in Ireland created a new gel resistant to superbugs, and a robot that can disinfect a room in minutes. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) — Cultural transmission — the passing of knowledge from one animal to another — has been caught on camera with chimps teaching other chimps. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Annual Dog Surfing Competition Draws California Crowds

Annual Dog Surfing Competition Draws California Crowds

AFP (Sep. 30, 2014) — The best canine surfers gathered for Huntington Beach's annual dog surfing competition, "Surf City, Surf Dog." Duration: 01:15 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins