Re-introducing oryx and addax to Chad: a dream come true – APEF

Since 2000, the Scimitar-horned Oryx, a species once scattered across North Africa, has been classified as "extinct in the wild" by the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

There have been no sightings in over 25 years due to unregulated hunting, habitat loss and lack of resources for conservation. With effect from 2014, an agreement was signed between the Government of Chad and the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency, with the participation of the NGO Sahara Conservation Fund, aimed at launching one of the world’s most ambitious conservation projects: to reintroduce the oryx to their original habitat and more generally to restore the Sahelian ecosystem in one of Africa’s largest protected areas in Africa.

 

The latest Addax were transferred from the United Arab Emirates to the reserve in Chad, in 2020. These addax are a source of renewed hope for their conservation as a species on the verge of extinction. It is worth noting that 225 oryx have been introduced to Chad since 2016 including 40 Addax (15 in 2019 and 25 in 2020).

 

According to the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency, a sponsor of the Oryx project, “managing this program which strives to restore viable populations of these majestic creatures, once extinct in the wild, to their home range in Chad , is a dream come true” ”

 

Monitoring the animals’ movements

Since the reintroductions began, a team of rangers has been monitoring them with the help of GPS tracking collars fitted on the animals. This system enables observation and tracking of their movements in real time. The movements of this latest reintroduction bear strong similarities to the first oryx released in the Ouadi Rimé-Ouadi Achim wildlife reserve in 2016. While the majority of oryx stayed together, several females broke away, covering large distances across the landscape in the first months after their release. With daytime temperatures in Chad already in the 40s, the team continues to monitor the addax closely to see how they are coping.

 

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