Dorcas Gazelle Reintroduction
To re-establish dorcas gazelles in the Senegal by means of reintroduction
As for other sahelo-saharan antelopes extinct in Senegal (the mohor gazelle, Gazella dama mhorr, and the scimitar-horned oryx , Oryx dammah), the dorcas gazelle disappeared from
this country in the early 1970s. Overexploitation and human competition (livestock) are claimed as the main causes of disappearance. Since the 80´s, the Senegalese government, trough the National Parks Direction (DPN) (Environment Ministry) is making effort to recover these extinct species. With this purpose, the DPN established two fauna reserves: The Guembeul Fauna Reserve (GR) and the North Ferlo Fauna Reserve (NFFR); the vocation of GR is to serve as place of acclimatation of animals during the first phases of the reintroduction; NFFR was conceived as final destination of the reintroduction.
In 2003, the Director of National Parks asked to the Estación Experimental de Zonas Aridas (EEZA/CSIC) for a reintroduction project of dorcas gazelles in Senegal; the EEZA keeps a breeding group of dorcas gazelles and since this centre the European Breeding Program (EEP/EAZA) for this species is coordinated. After a viability study of the project, it started in 2005.
On April 10th 2007, 20 dorcas gazelles (6 males, 14 females) from the captive population breeding in Europe under the EEP were transferred to the Guembeul Special Fauna Reserve (Senegal). The gazelles were located in three new acclimatation enclosures: 2 holding reproductive groups and 1 with an all males group. Since this reintroduction started, the reproduction of these gazelles has been contro
lled in order to promote a quick increase of the population keeping the maxima genetic variability. From September 2007 to March 2009, there were 25 births (9 males, 16 females) while seven animals died during this period: 2 offsprings, 2 juveniles and 3 adults. By March 2009, two years since the establishment of the popula
tion in Guembeul, the gazelles' population has increased up to 36 (13 males, 25 females).
Considering the success of the initial phases of this reintroduction project (transfer and monitoring), we afforded the next step , planned as the tra
nsfer of part of the dorcas gazelles from Geumbeul Reserve to the Ferlo North Fauna Reserve, with a genetic reinforcement of the Geumbeul´s population with new founders from the European captive population. On March 26, 6 dorcas gazelles (3 males, 3 females) from the Barcelona Zoo (Spain) and the Parque de Rescate de la Fauna Sahariana (EEZA/Almería, Spain) were transported until Guembeul and, in March 29 2009, 23 gazelles (9.14) were transferred from Guembeul Reserve to the Ferlo North Fauna Reserve, where the animals were released in the Katane enclosure were they are living with other reintroduced species, particularly the Scimitar-horned oryx and the Mhorr gazelle.
WAZA Conservation Project 09015 is implemented by the Agencia Consejo
superior de Investigacones Cientificas/Spanish Research Council (CSIC) and supported by Barcelona Zoo, Zoo-Aquarium Madrid, Jerez de la Frontera Zoo, Oasys-Parque Temático del Desierto de Tabernas, Asociacion Ibérica de Zoos y
Acuarios (AIZA), the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (SIM), Defense Ministry (DM), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (Spanish Research Council-CSIC), the Direction of National Parks and the Environmental Ministry in Senegal.
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