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Scimitar-Horned Oryx Dies at Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) humanely euthanized a 1-year-old female scimitar-horned oryx, after sustaining a severe spinal injury on June 25.

The yearling inadvertently separated herself from her herd as they were moving from one pasture to another through a chute. In an attempt to rejoin her herd, the yearling ran full speed into a metal post that was part of the chute. She was unable to stand, which indicated to the animal care team that she had seriously hurt herself. Physical examination by veterinary staff revealed fracture of her lumbar spine with severe spinal cord trauma and the decision was made to humanely euthanize the yearling. A final pathology report will provide more information. With the death of this yearling, there are 23 scimitar-horned oryx living at SCBI and two on view at the Smithsonian's National Zoo's Cheetah Conservation Station.

The scimitar-horned oryx, a desert antelope, was declared extinct in the wild by the International Union for Conservation of Nature in 2000. Unregulated hunting was the primary cause of the scimitar-horned oryx's extinction in the wild. Today, however, the threat from largely unregulated pastoral development and habitat loss are major concerns. SCBI is collaborating with the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi and the government of Chad on a scimitar-horned oryx reintroduction program.