Coordinator: Sonia Domínguez Tejedor
Institution: Estación Experimental de Zonas Áridas (EEZA) - CSIC
The EAZA population of mhorr gazelle has provided individuals for restoring or reinforcing existing (wild and semi-wild) populations in Morocco in the past and will remain available to as a source population as part of the Dama Gazelle (Nanger dama) Conservation Strateg 2019 – 2028 (Al Ain Zoo, IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group and Royal Zoological Society Scotland, 2019). There is potential to support reintroduction activities in Senegal. Further research into the habitat suitability and mitigation of threats will determine when this will be needed and feasible for both Morocco and Senegal.
The EAZA population of mhorr gazelle will be continued to be managed as an insurance population (can even be considered an ark population of this subspecies) and specific
attention will be paid to research that improves the further management; husbandry (diet e.g.), reproduction and welfare (mixed exhibits e.g.). The programme will support molecular research to determine pedigree and genetic diversity of especially the Western Asian EAZA population to gain insight into their conservation value and approach for management.
The programme will remain available to support research needs for genetic management, infectious diseases, nutrition, ethology and stress management in captivity. The research is both beneficial for the EAZA population and the insurance and source populations across the world. There is a priority for biobanking of samples of all individuals of the EAZA population to support decision-making for conservation efforts. Taxonomy research will be guided by the identified needs from the IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group (Dama Gazelle (Nanger dama) Conservation Strategy 2019 – 2028 (Al Ain Zoo, IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group and Royal Zoological Society Scotland, 2019) and the priorities of the (EEZA-CSIC) research facilities.
• Capacity building
The programme is contributing to establishing training programmes for husbandry and management support for dama gazelle ex situ management efforts in African countries (e.g. Tunisia, Senegal, Morocco).
The programme will continue to raise funds for local governments/communities to implement conservation efforts. One example project is to support local communities in Senegal with local habitat conservation (focusing on an invasive plant species also affecting dama gazelle.
• Conservation education (in EAZA institutions)
The mhorr gazelle is a good ambassador for the Sahara region and good example of successful ex situ conservation linked to in situ populations. The programme will develop guidance and/or education material to help convey these messages that explain the complexities of reintroduction, why long-term support is needed, and the valuable role that zoos can play.
In August 2022, the Mhorr gazelle EEP had 277 animals in 24 institutions.