Calves born into Abu Dhabi addax herd in Chad

The majestic antelope was on the brink of extinction in the wild

One of the newborn addax calves with its mother in Chad. Courtesy: Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi
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The first wild-born addax antelope from an Abu Dhabi herd has been born in Chad.

A second calf was born two days later.

The calves are part of a herd of 15 addax (Addax nasomaculatus) released in Chad by Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi.

The agency flew 15 captive-bred addax from the UAE to the Ouadi Rimé-Ouadi Achim Game Reserve in late 2019.

The birth of the two calves is a sign that the herd is adjusting well to life in the wild.

A calf with its mother. Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi
A calf with its mother. Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi

“These births are truly a reason to celebrate as the Addax is one of the rarest mammals on earth and on the verge of extinction in the wild,” said Dr Shaikha Al Dhaheri,  the agency’s secretary general.

“According to an estimate, there are fewer than 100 Addax left in the wild in fragmented populations across their former range and not much is known about them.

"Hence this newborn calf is a major milestone and gives renewed hope to a species that desperately needs immediate conservation action to protect the remaining populations in the wild.”

With its large hooves and light coat, the antelope is perfectly adapted to survive in the Sahara and once roamed across North Africa.

 A second calf was born within two days. Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi
 A second calf was born within two days. Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi

But its spectacular spiraled horns made it a target for poachers.

Regional insecurity and oil activities pushed the wild population to extinction and by 2016, there were just three addax left in the wild.

The release of captive-bred addax is part of an agreement with Chad to restore endangered species.

In March, a second group of 25 addax were transported to Chad from Abu Dhabi, as well as an additional 25 scimitar-horned oryx.

They will be released after the summer rains when conditions are best for the herd to adapt to their new surroundings.

The reintroduced wild population of the scimitar-horned oryx has reached 288, following the birth of 33 calves this year.

The agency noted the reintroduced oryx and addax herds are thriving, thanks to the support of partners including the Sahara Conservation Fund, the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the Zoological Society of London.