ORLANDO, Fla. (Fox 35 WOFL) - In late February, Brevard Zoo welcomed its second scimitar-horned oryx calf of the year.
The mother, Kitcha, did not appear interested in the female newborn, so she is being hand-reared by the Zoo’s animal care staff.
Kitcha was born at the Zoo in 2009. The father, Nuri, came from Smithsonian’s National Zoo and now lives at Lion Country Safari. Nuri also fathered the male calf born February 3.
Tests were performed the day after birth and showed the calf had not yet nursed, so she was pulled her from the exhibit. She is living in an area where she can see and smell the rest of the herd.
“She was quite small as a newborn, so we are monitoring her weight and food intake,” said the Zoo's Director of Animal Program Michelle Smurl. She went on to say that “For the first four days, she was eating every four hours. As her weight increases, we increase her food intake and she is now eating three times a day.”
Scimitar-horned oryx were once one of the most prominent mammal species across northern Africa, extending from Morocco to Egypt and as far south as Sudan. In 1999, they became extinct in the wild as a result of climate change and an increase of hunting due to a growing human presence in the region.
The species is now successfully bred in human care and a healthy population of captive-born oryx has been introduced to their native range.