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Male Oryx Born At Staten Island Zoo Gives Hope For Near-Extinct Species

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A male scimitar-horned oryx named "Felipe," born in captivity at the Staten Island Zoo is giving new hope for the future of the near-extinct species.

According to zoo officials, the oryx, a member of the antelope family, was proclaimed extinct in the wild in the early 1980s. Around 6,000 oryxes remain in captivity as ongoing efforts to save the species are practiced worldwide.

"Felipe," the newest member of Staten Island's oryx family, was born in March, becoming the first animal of its kind to be born at a local zoo.

The Staten Island Zoo is one of several American institutions participating in the oryx survival program, alongside San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Baby Oryx
(Credit: Staten Island Zoo)

Ongoing revitalization efforts are also active in Africa, with programs in Chad, Senegal, Morocco and Tunisia.

Earlier this year, the Sahara Conservation Fund, of Africa, released 25 of their oryxes into a gated reserve in Chad. The institution plans to release up to 500 oryxes to support a thriving herd in the wild, according to officials.

The decline in wild oryx population can be attributed to a variety of factors, including dry weather and poaching.

The new baby oryx can be viewed at the Staten Island Zoo's Sahara Habitat.

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