The Dama Gazelle is descended from the Western strain that existed in the Sahara desert in Morocco. This type of gazelles is a rare, endangered species. They count less than 300. Overhunting, livestock grazing and urban change have been some of the main reasons for its decline in numbers.
Unfortunately, the Dama Gazelle can only be found in zoos. Al Ain Zoo is making great efforts to grow its numbers and re-release it to ensure continuity.
There are about 80 Dama Gazelles in Al Ain Zoo, of two subspecies: the first is the eastern subspecies, known as the red-necked gazelle, also known as the Addra Gazelle, and the second one is the Mhorr Gazelle.
Experimental Research on Dama Gazelle Conservation
Although scientists have identified three subspecies of the gazelle, experts believe they are similar in reality because of their few numbers, and recommend treating them as one species in regards to their breeding as one group, as opposed to separating them.
We, at the Zoo, are working on research and studies to measure the health of the crossbred gazelle, monitoring their physical health. If crossbreeding the subspecies of the Dama Gazelle proves sustainable, it may provide us with more options to facilitate the species’ conservation to protect it from extinction.
Monitory Research on Conserving Dama Gazelles in their Natural Habitat
Al Ain Zoo works in cooperation with the Sahara Conservation Fund to supervise Dama Gazelle monitoring programme and research its conservation within its largest natural, wild habitat. The programme also includes a long-term field study that entails installing surveillance cameras to engage the local community in this field of research and monitor hunting activities.