Conservation Status: Endangered
SPA's strong North African Antelope species portfolio now includes the Arabian oryx. The Arabian oryx shares many similarities with the scimitar-horned oryx and addax, two of the SPA's original target species. IUCN estimates the population in nature is between 850 and 1200 animals, the majority being semi-wild animals living on preserves. The Arabian oryx does extremely well when raised in large natural herds on private lands. SPA's goal is to apply the same methodology of the original program species to the Arabian oryx, that is, linking all animals into a single, large metapopulation to ensure species survival into perpetuity.
Dama (addra) Gazelle
Conservation Status: Critically Endangered, less than 250 The Dama gazelle is critically endangered in the wild with less than 100 animals remaining. This desert gazelle species was chosen as a part of the SPA conservation portfolio because of the success we have seen with the species on private ranches. For a species with a wild population as low as the Dama, the work being done to raise the animals in human care is essential. Many SPA participants have built up large herds of Dama and are committed to the survival of this species for many years to come.
Conservation Status: Critically Endangered
An ideal species for the SPA is the bongo, due to its popularity with private landowners and a need for connectivity between the ranch and zoo communities. The bongo population in nature is estimated by IUCN to be fewer than 250 animals. The natural beauty and perilous status of wild populations makes the bongo a highly desirable species for all holders. There also are research opportunities, including through C2S2’s DNA Services.
Conservation Status: Least concern The selection of the roan antelope was based on its similarities with the sable antelope, already in the SPA’s portfolio. Although believed to be relatively safe in nature (perhaps as many as 75,000 animals according to IUCN), the roan antelope is highly dependent on availability of protected lands. Growing instability in some areas of its range makes the creation of insurance populations a high priority. Roan antelope are not as common in zoo or private collections as its sable counterpart, thereby also indicating the need for being included in our program.
Conservation Status: Extinct in the Wild
The SHO was one of the four original species of the SPA program. Scimitar were a logical fit for this unique conservation model with their IUCN status of extinct in the wild, and prevalence on private ranches in the U.S. There are estimated to be over 7,000 SHO on private ranches in the U.S. Oryx are not only of extremely high conservation value and beautiful, but they also thrive in human managed care.
The SHO is a desert species that once roamed large swaths of North African Sahel region until going extinct several decades ago. This unique animal now has a second chance at returning to their native range, and this is in large part because of the strong populations of these animals in human care in the U.S. and U.A.E. The Environment Agency Abu Dhabi and Sahara Conservation fund are currently working to reintroduce this species back to Chad.
Many SPA participant facilities have helped play a vital role in supporting this reintroduction efforts. Several staff members from our participants have made multiple trips to Chad to help with this project. Most recently, the SPA Program Manager and representatives from Fossil Rim, SCBI, and White Oak went to Chad in July, 2018 to assist with putting GPS collars on oryx slated for release.
Conservation Status: Least Concern
While the IUCN classifies sable antelope as 'lest concern', fewer than 75,000 of them remain in their native range. The wild population faces through from competition for grazing land and water sources with domestic livestock. Sable are a member of the genus 'hippotragus' which means horse antelope.
Sable were chosen for the SPA program because they have a small zoo managed population that needs to be increased, and are doing well on private ranches. These are an excellent example of a species that we can do valuable conservation work with, by building-up the managed population, as a bulwark against extinction should they become endangered in their native range.