It’s been a busy few weeks for the ungulate keepers at Monarto Safari Park with the arrival of six extinct in the wild Scimitar-horned Oryx calves this month, bringing the total born this year to 11.
Over the last weekend alone three oryx calves have been born making the total number in the Wild Africa herd just one shy of 50.
“There’s still at least one more mum to give birth,” says keeper Haidee Kinter, “so this herd should hit the half-century mark any day soon.”
On discovering a newborn calf, thought to have been born over the last 24 hours, Haidee’s first job was to check it over, to sex, tag, and chip the youngster to enable accurate and essential record-keeping.
“This little one is a male,” said Haidee. ‘We are giving all the newborn oryx yellow outer ear tags to make them identifiable as being born in 2021. He looks healthy and well,” she finished before carefully returning him to his mother.
“This little fellow will play a vital role in saving his species which is now extinct in the wild,” finished Haidee.
The Scimitar-horned Oryx was once found widespread across North Africa, but since 2000 has been classified as extinct in the wild. This status can be attributed to uncontrolled hunting, excessive drought, agricultural encroachment, and excessive grazing of the limited vegetation by domestic livestock.
The newborn Scimitar-horned Oryx male calf lives in Monarto’s Wild Africa precinct, soon to be home to the largest safari experience outside of Africa. When work is complete, visitors and those staying at the resort hotel being built by a private investor Gerry Ryan will be able to adventure through the safari seeing African species including the oryx, zebra, giraffe, rhino and Cheetah from open-sided vehicles.
Despite their extinct classification in the wild, it’s estimated that 9,000 oryx are kept in zoos, safari parks, ranches, and public holdings around the world.
Monarto Safari Park’s first oryx arrived around 1989.
Visitors are encouraged to learn more about oryx and other endangered species through keeper talks and experiences.
Due to restricted numbers, visitors to Monarto Safari Park are encouraged to book online before visiting. www.monartosafari.com.au/tickets