A further 23 Scimitar-horned Oryx were released into a remote part of Chad this week, as part of a long-term international conservation project to reinstate this most persecuted of antelope back into one of their historic strongholds. The species is believed to have become extinct in the wild during the early 1990s – the precise year is widely disputed – but are now showing signs of a revival following a release of an initial 23 animals last August into the same region. This was made possible after a group of 40-50 Oryx were taken from the wild into captivity in the 1960s after decades of hunting decimated their population across Northern Africa.
Continue reading Scimitar-horned Oryx Reintroduction Enters New Phase
Back in 1927, Europe’s largest land animal became extinct in the wild following centuries of habitat loss and overhunting. A dozen individuals in captivity were subsequently bred across five zoos in the hope that one day, a viable population could be re-established. Now in 2015, there are over 5500 Wisent – to use their correct European name – of which more than 2700 are in truly wild, free-ranging herds. The magnificently primeval Bialowieza Forest which stretches across the border between Poland and Belarus, is once again a stronghold for them – having been home to 11 of the 12 Wisent removed during the early 20th Century to save the entire species.
Continue reading The Resurgence of the European Bison
I’ve been meaning to get my views on zoos condensed into a blog post for a while now, but each time I approached the subject in my mind, it got complicated, lacked clarity and seemed destined to result in an incoherent ramble. Then I read Chris Packham’s engaging column in this month’s copy of BBC Wildlife Magazine and it gave me the nudge I needed to try and clearly assemble my stance on what is often a morally murky issue. It’s not often that I agree completely with someone’s opinion piece, however, this was one exception.
Continue reading The Ambivalence Of Zoos