Dama Gazelle Born at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Photo Credit: Gil Myers, Smithsonian's National Zoo
A male dama gazelle was born to mother Fahima and father Raul early morning Sept. 4 in an off-exhibit area. The following day, Sept. 5, Zoo veterinarians performed a complete physical exam, which includes: listening to the calf’s heart and lungs; checking his mouth, eyes, legs, feet, umbilicus and genital area; taking blood samples; and observing the calf’s mobility. He appears to be healthy and strong. Fahima and her baby will be off exhibit for the next few weeks, which will give them time to bond.
Keepers report that the calf is active, nursing and gaining weight steadily. Zoo visitors will have the opportunity to see him later this fall at the Cheetah Conservation Station’s mixed species exhibit, which houses dama gazelles and two male scimitar-horned oryx. The calf is the first born to Fahima and the second for Raul, and he is the second calf born at the National Zoo this year. In late July, the first dama gazelle—also a male—was born on exhibit to mother Adara and Raul. Unfortunately, he passed away from a bacterial infection at 13 days old.
This birth is very significant for the dama gazelle population. The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources Red List of Threatened Species lists the dama gazelle as critically endangered. It is estimated that fewer than 500 remain in the wild and are under constant threat due to hunting and poaching.