36. New Hope for the Threatened Erlanger’s Gazelle (Gazella erlangeri) at AWWP

After an eight year preparation period, four female Erlanger’s gazelles finally arrived at AWWP




After an eight year preparation period, four female Erlanger’s gazelles (Gazella erlangeri) finally arrived at the Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation on 13.04.2010. This important contribution to the survival of this species is the result of collaboration between King Khalid Wildlife Research Center (KKWRC) in Thumamah, formally supported by the general secretary of the Saudi Arabian Wildlife Authorities Prince Bander Bin Saud Bin Mohammad Al-Saud, Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation (AWWP).The Erlanger’s or Neumann’s gazelle is considered one of the most threatened ungulate species worldwide. This rather small and dark gazelle with a stout body and short legs is described from the West of the Arabian Peninsula (Saudi Arabia, Yemen). Unfortunately there is no recent information on wild populations. Surveys in its range land are recommended to evaluate the actual status in the wild.

Previously considered as one of the various Gazella gazella subspecies, the Erlanger’s gazelle is nowadays treated as a distinct species (Grubb 2005, Groves 1997). Since the entire taxonomy of Arabian gazelles is currently under review, the present classification of this “little dark gazelle” is just a published opinion that may change with further research. Preliminary molecular analysis of mtDNA (dloop, cytb) revealed that this taxon is rather related to G. gazella from the East of the Arabian Peninsula (i.e.,G.g. muscatensis- Wronski, personal communication).

At present, there are only two known facilities keeping Erlanger’s gazelles: KKWRC with a total of 40 specimens and AWWP with 3.4 animals. To coordinate the breeding of the species, ZSL has established a studbook this spring.

Prior to import preparations, DNA analyses were carried out on both populations to ensure that the same species was being represented. Since there are only two old male Erlanger’s gazelles left at AWWP, time is running short to secure their valuable genetics. The four newly arrived females were born between 2006 and 2008; two of them have already reared offspring. After a quarantine period of 4 weeks, two of the females were introduced to the oldest male “Methusalem”. One female was introduced to the other male “Abid” two weeks later. The first integration went off without any problems, whereas slight aggressions were observed during the second integration for a few days. The males immediately showed sexual interest towards the females but to date no mating has been observed.

The fourth female arrived pregnant. She gave birth to a healthy male fawn named “Waheed”, which means “One” in Arabic on 07.06.2010.Both animals are still kept in the AWWP quarantine unit, where they will remain until the necessary newborn vaccinations of the fawn have been completed.


« Prev
Next »