UAE sends 60 endangered Arabian oryx to Jordan for conservation
The UAE have gifted sixty Arabian oryx to Jordan to help restore populations of the rare gazelle in the region, the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) - the main environmental organisation in the kingdom - announced on Sunday.
The gift was part of an environmental conservation project funded by Abu Dhabi's Environment Agency to restore the Arabian oryx, a local species of gazelles, in their native environment.
Jordan has already developed a herd of oryx, which are held in the Shaumari Wildlife Reserve, a sanctuary and breeding centre for rare and locally extinct species.
The reserve is located in the northern Azraq desert and currently hosts oryx, ostriches, wild asses and deer.
The UAE's gift will allow Jordan to expand this herd and to broaden its genetic pool according to officials from the RSCN, who welcomed the gift in a press release.
Once an emblematic species of the Arabian desert, the Arabian oryx went extinct in the wild in the early seventies largely due to massive overhunting.
In 1972, a hunting party in Oman wiped out the last oryx living in the wild. Efforts were made over the past decades to protect remaining animals and reintroduce some to the desert.
In 2011, the status of the species improved from "threatened" to "vulnerable" on the Red List of endangered species drafted by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the global standard used to monitor the vulnerability of wildlife.
Less than 1,000 oryx are still thought to live in the wild today. A few thousands more are held in captivity in zoos and nature reserves located in various Arab countries.