Conservation Gazelle Dorcas
Principal researcher: Teresa Abaigar Ancín
Institution: CSIC (Spanish National Research Council)
Following the recommendations of the “World Zoo and Aquarium Conservation Strategy” regarding promotion of in situ conservation in the places of origin of species, the Barcelona Zoo, in collaboration with CSIC (Spanish National Research Council), participates in an important project of reintroduction of the Dorcas gazelle (Gazella dorcas neglecta) into one of its countries of origin: Senegal.
The Dorcas gazelle is a small ungulate characteristic of the large desert and sub-desert extensions of Northern Africa, Arabia and the Near East. The subspecies that lives in our Zoo and that has been reintroduced in Senegal is the Saharan Dorcas gazelle (Gazella dorcas neglecta), an animal in grave danger of extinction.
Very abundant until the 1950’s, the gazelle had always been pursued by the nomad populations living within their area of distribution that used their meat as food. But the arrival of guns and motor cars has been the main factor in their spectacular decrease in numbers.
The Barcelona Zoo has participated in this project, as well in its funding, with the contribution of 6 specimens from its collection, selected genetic lines, and technical and veterinary advice.
At At the educational level, the Zoo has prepared informative posters for the reception centre at the Reserve de la Faune de Guembeul, where the animals will stay during the first phase of the project.
After a period of adaptation, the Dorcas gazelles will be sent to the reservation at Ferlo Nord Park, a vast protected area of more than 6,000 km2, representative of the bush savannas typical of the Sahel.
The Barcelona Zoo’s participation in the conservation of the Sahel’s fauna will continue in the future with the establishment of collaboration agreements and other projects undertaken in the area by national and international institutions.