Last week, Dublin Zoo announced the arrival of a special newborn, a male scimitar-horned oryx born in early December.
The species is classified as extinct in the wild, though captive-bred individuals have been released in protected areas of Tunisia and Chad. Just a few months ago, conservationists celebrated when a calf was born within the released herd. That marked the first time a scimitar-horned oryx has been born in Chad in 30 years.
Captive breeding is critical to keeping the species alive and preserving hope that there might once again be wild herds of scimitar-horned oryx roaming the desert habitat. The creature was once widespread in northern Africa, but hunting and climate change pushed its wild numbers to the breaking point. That's why the birth of this male at Dublin Zoo is cause for popping open some champagne.
The zoo's herd now numbers four individuals. “We are absolutely thrilled with the new arrival and recognise the significance of this birth in the conservation of the scimitar-horned oryx," said Helen Clarke-Bennet of the Dublin Zoo. "The calf has shown strong signs of settling into its new surroundings and is mixing extremely well with the rest of the herd.”