25 scimitar-horned oryx reintroduced to Chad

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ABU DHABI // A herd of 25 scimitar-horned oryx have been reintroduced to the west African country of Chad in attempt to strengthen the population after they were declared extinct in their native home more than 20 years ago.

Selected based on their genetic robustness and diversity, the new wave of oryx were flown by charter plane from Abu Dhabi and will join animals that were released into the wild in December as part of the Environment Agency- Abu Dhabi’s programme.

“Our plan is to bring in new shipments of oryx at regular intervals, thus seeding a viable wild population over the next 3 to 4 years,” said Dr Shaikha Al Dhaheri, executive director, terrestrial and marine biodiversity sector.

Each oryx will be fitted with a GPS collar that will allow scientists to track its journey across the 78,000 square-kilometre reserve.

In the first few days since their release the new herd has been seen grazing peacefully, a sign that acclimatisation was taking place.

They are expected to follow their predecessors into the further reaches of the reserve over the coming weeks.

The programme is expected to continue for the next four years with the aim of reintroduce 300 to 500 oryx back into the west African country.