17. Mixed Bachelor Group Experience 2003

International Congress on Zookeeping, Alphen/ Holland, 2003


Experiences in a mixed Gazelle and Antelope bachelor group in Qatar/ Middle East

By Catrin and Sven Hammer


With a stock of approximately 1500 Gazelles and Antelopes the problem arises of how to manage surplus males. This applies to those males that can no longer be kept in breeding groups for various reasons.

In 2001 we began to establish two mixed group holdings of different ungulate species. One enclosure has an area of about 90.000m², the other one-≈ 70.000m². Due to the favorable climatic conditions the animals are kept outdoors all year.  Therefore we did not need to build any stables. Just a single yard as introduction or separating pen has been built. The enclosures have been equipped with shelters, a range of different sight barriers such as earth ridges, depressions and   planted islands. The sight barriers have proven to be essential in limiting aggression. The more animals we introduced the more barriers we had to construct, as well as food and water troughs that were built in different areas of the pen. This is necessary, because some of the groups dominate certain parts of the enclosure.

We are feeding ad libitum barley and wheat bran in the traditional Arabian way, supplemented by minerals and vitamins to avoid deficiencies. Mineral and salt blocks as well as hay and fresh water are always available. Fresh alfalfa is only offered restrictively. Browse is given when available. Prophylactic treatments of intestinal worms and fecal examinations are carried out regularly twice a year. The dung and feeding areas are cleaned once a month.


Up to May 2003 we have released males of the following species to the two



Pen I   Pen II
Species Number   Species Number

(Addax nasomaculatus)

27   Rheem gazelle

(Gazella subgutturosa marica)


(Antilope cervicapra)

14   Saudi gazelle

(Gazella saudiya)


(Gazella bennettii)

Red fronted gazelle

(Gazella rufifrons)

Soemmerings gazelle

(Gazella soemmeringi )

Goitred gazelle

(gazella s.subgutturosa)


(Gazella dorcas Isabella)

Spekes gazelle

(Gazella spekei)





General observations:

-Using these methods the mortality rate due to aggressions has been reduced conspicuously compared to the former holding.

-Inter- and intraspecific conflicts are still regularly observed, but they are not fought out that severely as before when all the males were retained within the breeding groups.

-The smaller Gazelles are often seen roaming around together, unlike the bigger Antelopes, who prefer keeping to them. The Addax dominates certain parts of the pen.

For the Red Fronted Gazelle the conditions in the bachelor pen has proved to be not optimal. Recently we have started to shift them to a different place.



A disadvantage of the mentioned feeding practice is the food choice itself and the ad-lib. Feeding: some species (Addax, Blackbuck, Rheem gazelle) are simply becoming too fat, whereas the other species are maintaining a normal body weight.  To meet the requirements of the smaller gazelles, which need higher energy contents in their diet, we have recently established areas where only those species have access.

In addition masses of pigeons are attracted to the area by the permanent availability of food.Â

As in most large and well-structured enclosures it can be difficult   to do a proper monitoring. Particularly sick or injured animals hide well and it can be very difficult to identify them.


In summary this way of holding surplus males has proven to be a good solution for the situation at Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation. Grievous injuries and death due to fighting’s have been reduced down to 20% of former levels. An enormous genetic pool will be conserved in this way and these enclosures, in our case arranged as drive through exhibits, are quite attractive for visitors.


Catrin and Dr. Sven Hammer
P.O. Box 44690
Doha- State of Qatar

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