'Extinct in the wild' Oryx calf born at Marwell Zoo

The new arrival has been named Freya Credit: Marwell Zoo

Marwell Zoo near Winchester, is celebrating the birth of a threatened antelope declared extinct in the wild.

Keepers say the one-month-old scimitar-horned oryx calf named Freya, born to Christina and Tenzi, is thriving and enjoying running around the large paddock they share with white rhinos, zebra and ostrich.

Marwell Zoo’s Hoofstock Team Leader Tim Rowlands, said: “The calves will hide for the first few days, which is why their pelage is sand coloured and replaced with a white coat as they grow. After the first week, the calf follows the dam to explore new areas but she’s not at the age to venture too far on her own just yet. However, calves are able to run as fast as the adults as early as twenty days old and she has been enjoying running around in the paddock.”

The once abundant scimitar-horned oryx was assessed as ‘extinct in the wild’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature in the year 2000, so the species is reliant on captive breeding and reintroduction efforts for its continued survival.

Oryx calves are able to run as fas as adults after just three weeks old Credit: Marwell Zoo

Conservation Biologist Dr Tania Gilbert, said: “We have reintroduced groups of oryx into protected areas in Tunisia to re-establish them in their natural habitat and we continue to research the re-established populations and work to enhance the biodiversity of the protected areas where they live.”

Marwell Zoo is ready to reopen from Monday 12th April, subject to Government Covid-19 guidance.