Dublin Zoo welcomes birth of 'extinct in the wild' oryx

The scimitar-horned oryx was once widespread across northern Africa

Dublin Zoo welcomes birth of 'extinct in the wild' oryx

Image: Dublin Zoo

Dublin Zoo has announced the birth of a male scimitar-horned oryx - a species classified as extinct in the wild.

Born on Wednesday, the healthy new calf weighs around 25kg and brings the herd at the zoo to seven.

The scimitar-horned oryx was once widespread across northern Africa, but due to overhunting, habitat loss and competition with domestic livestock, they have gradually disappeared from the wild.

Image: Dublin Zoo

The species have been classified as extinct in the wild by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), as there has been no definitive evidence of their presence in the wild since the early 1990s.

Dublin Zoo houses a breeding group of scimitar-horned oryx and, since 2013, has financially supported the reintroduction programme for the scimitar-horned oryx in Tunisia.

Through conservation breeding programmes, zoo-bred oryx have been re-introduced into semi-wild areas in four national parks across Tunisia.

Image: Dublin Zoo

Currently, there are over 200 oryx in such areas.

Commenting on the birth, team leader Helen Clarke-Bennet said: "We are so pleased to welcome our newest addition to the scimitar-horned oryx herd and recognise the impact this birth makes on the conservation efforts being made to protect this species.

"Both mother and calf are doing extremely well - we are delighted to report he was up and running about just one hour after birth".