A very rare antelope, an addax, has been born at Al Ain Wildlife Park & Resort. A relative of the oryx, the addax once roamed the deserts and sandy plains of North Africa until about 20 years ago when its numbers fell sharply. There are now fewer than 300 in the wild. It is listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. The addax is considered one of two Saharan hoofed mammal species at highest risk of extinction in the near future, and the birth was a special occasion at the Al Ain park.
"We are extremely proud to be part of the conservation efforts aimed at ensuring these beautiful animals can exist," said Farshid Mehrdadfar, the manager of animal collections. The addax was born on September 18 but the announcement of its birth was delayed to ensure the animal was healthy and had a good chance of survival. The baby and its mother can be seen in the park's addax exhibit, situated near the education centre.
Some 1,600 addax live in captivity, in zoos or in private collections, including 50 at the Al Ain park. The park is taking part in an international species management programme for the addax being conducted under the auspices of the Sahara Conservation Fund, a non-governmental organisation devoted to conserving the wildlife of the Sahara and bordering grasslands. It aims to reintroduce more of the animals into the wild.