Gazelle Extinct in the Wild Is Born in Valencia
November 12, 2017
A Mhorr Gazelle, which is extinct in the wild, was born while amazed visitors watched at Spain’s Bioparc Valencia on November 9.
The newborn immediately tried to stand while its attentive mother hovered close by. It was eventually successful and nursed from mom shortly after.
Photo Credit: Bioparc Valencia
Mhorr Gazelles, once found in western regions of Africa’s Sahel and the Sahara Desert, became extinct in the wild in 1968. Since then, European, African, and Middle Eastern zoos have developed breeding programs for Mhorr Gazelles. Some individuals have been reintroduced to their former native range as part of an effort to reestablish the wild population.
Mhorr Gazelles (Nanger dama mhorr) are one of three subspecies of Dama Gazelles. The other two are Addra Gazelles (N. d. ruficollis) which live in the eastern Sahel and Sahara, and the nominate subspecies, Dama Gazelles (N. d. dama), which lives in the central region between the other two subspecies.
Scientists continue to debate whether each are separate subspecies based on genetic sampling.
These Gazelles are well-adapted to arid habitats, requiring little water and feeding on grasses, acacia leaves, and fruits.
With all three subspecies, small, fragmented populations in the wild are a concern for the future of these Gazelles. There are only five remnant populations remaining in the wild, and some number fewer than 100 individuals. All Dama Gazelles are listed as Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Zoos and other breeding programs are the only hope for the survival of these elegant and graceful Gazelles.