38. Pregnancy diagnosis made for rare antelope

BeiraFor the first time in the world, a pregnancy diagnosis in Beira Antelopes (Dorcatragus megalotis) has been made at Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation (AWWP) near Shahaniya in central Qatar.
AWWP, which occupies 2.5sqkm, is the only place in the world to keep and breed the small, desert-dwelling antelopes, in captivity.

Established by Sheikh Saoud bin Mohamed bin Ali al-Thani in 2000 on what was originally his father’s hobby farm, AWWP is becoming internationally recognised for its work in the care and conservation of rare and endangered species from all over the world. It houses around 2,000 animals representing 90 species.
Beira antelopes, which typically occur in the Horn of Africa, are listed as vulnerable on the Redlist of endangered species, regularly updated by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Recently, AWWP staff decided to perform a reproductive assessment of the breeding Beira antelopes. The highly specialised examination was carried out by in-house veterinary staff in conjunction with global reproductive wildlife experts from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin, Germany.
All animals were anaesthetised and underwent a full clinical examination, including 3D ultrasound from the reproductive tract.


Semen was collected from the males to assess fertility and reproductive quality. This ground-breaking research, for the first time ever revealed a pregnancy in a female Beira antelope and a second healthy female was artificially inseminated with semen collected from one of the males. Additional semen has been frozen by AWWP staff so that it can be used to produce further pregnancies in the Beira antelopes.

Dr Tim Bouts, director, AWWP, said the research has taught the team a lot about the reproductive and medical status of Beira antelopes and will help the future breeding of this species in Al Wabra.
“We did not expect a pregnancy and seeing that little miracle on ultrasound was just breath-taking. We will start preparing everything so that the birth will be as stress-free as possible,” he said.
AWWP is not commercial and not open to the public but there is an education programme for schools which can visit the preservation.

AWWP is an affiliated member of the European association of Zoos and Aquaria.



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