Return to the Wild: Conservation hope for the scimitar-horned oryx

I’ve been following this reintroduction effort for a couple of years now. It’s great to hear about calves born in the wild!

Animal Ecology In Focus

In this post for Endangered Species Day Jared Stabach, a research ecologist at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute highlights the sharp decline in large mammal species across the Sahara and focuses on species that individuals and organizations are working to reintroduce.

Deserts cover approximately 17% of the world’s land mass.  While understudied and underappreciated, these systems support a unique and charismatic flora and fauna, with species that have evolved remarkable adaptions for survival.  The Sahelo-Saharan region, for example, is most impressive, supporting a diverse ungulate assemblage that include addax, dama gazelle, dorcas gazelle, and scimitar-horned oryx.  Sadly, many of these species persist across a small fraction of their former range, a result of range restriction, habitat degradation, increased competition with livestock, and overhunting.  Others, such as the scimitar-horned oryx, valued for the meat and quality of their pelt, are now extinct in the wild altogether.Red list figure

Hope, however, does exist thanks…

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