Posted In Conservation | 20th September 2017

Reintroducing a Previously-extinct Antelope into the Wild

Tragically, the scimitar-horned oryx, a species of antelope that live at Dublin Zoo, became extinct in the wild. This oryx was once widespread across northern Africa but due to over-hunting, habitat loss and competition with domestic livestock, the scimitar-horned oryx gradually disappeared from the wild. The last wild scimitar-horned oryx was sighted in 1988 in Chad.

Fortunately, a global zoo breeding programme started in the 1960s and this managed population now numbers around 1,500 animals in over 170 institutions. There are also large numbers of this oryx held by private collections around the world. Dublin Zoo houses a breeding group of scimitar-horned oryx, which is part of this international breeding programme.

A young oryx calf born in Dublin Zoo in 2018 as part of an international breeding programme

Since 2013, Dublin Zoo has financially supported the reintroduction programme for the scimitar-horned oryx in Tunisia. Through conservation breeding programmes, zoo-bred oryx have been reintroduced into semi-wild areas in four national parks across Tunisia. Currently there are over 200 oryx in such semi-wild areas.

Scmitar-horned oryx reintroduced in Tunisia