People, Environment

Extinct Antelope Making Comeback in Chad

Extinct Antelope Making Comeback in ChadExtinct Antelope Making Comeback in Chad

The scimitar-horned oryx, which has been officially extinct in the wild for 17 years, is making a remarkable comeback in Chad.

Five thousand years ago, as many as one million scimitar-horned oryx grazed the steppes and sub-deserts of North Africa. The white-bodied antelopes with russet necks are well adapted to this hot, arid region, reported.

As recently as 100 years ago, hundreds of thousands still roamed. Sadly, with a little help from humanity, by the year 2000, the species was declared extinct in the wild by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

But as of 2017, they are back in nature where they belong once again.

Fourteen oryx from captive breeding programs were released into a game reserve in Chad in January 2017, joining an initial 21 that were reintroduced to the wild in August 2016. An additional 25 animals are scheduled to be added this July.

In March, the Smithsonian announced that two calves had been born in the wild. Including one previous birth, that makes three successful pregnancies for wild scimitar oryx—the first such events in more than 20 years.

These births give hope that a self-sustaining population of wild oryx will become established in the region.

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