It has recently been reported that a two-day workshop was organized to establish regional disease control and management for the Arabian oryx. This workshop was set up by the General Secretariat for the Conservation of the Arabian Oryx, in partnership with the Environment Agency- Abu Dhabi (EAD) and the Zoo and Aquarium Public Institution in Al Ain. Among the participants included representatives from other nations where the antelope once roamed. Together with their Gulf counterparts, they discussed carrying out studies to determine genetics and different diseases, and how they can work together to adequately respond to outbreaks. The workshop was held in Al Ain, and was attended by 38 biologists and veterinarians from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Jordan, and Iraq.
As of now, the Coordinating Committee for the Conservation of the Arabian Oryx (CCCAO) is overseeing the coordination of efforts in conservation for the antelope within the Arabian Peninsula. Its members have agreed to uniting and amplifying efforts of the species that once ranged from southern Syria, to Oman's and Yemen's borders with Saudi Arabia. The workshop's goal was to recognize different aspects of veterinary care required when reintroducing the oryx in its former range, and work on an annual statistics bulletin to keep track of diseases that affect the herds reintroduced that range. The participants have agreed to prepare a booklet giving description of various diseases affecting the oryx. This will focus on preventive veterinary care and how to prepare contingency plans for the management of disease outbreaks. In addition to that, the participants underlined on the importance of encouraging the range states to carry out necessary studies to identify the relationship between genetics and diseases. They also underlined on the need to aiding information exchange amongst the group of professionals involved in responding to the outbreaks.
I'm very impressed and proud to see what steps the Middle East has taken in the conservation of the Arabian oryx. This magnificent antelope has recently exceeded to a thousand individuals, thus making a comeback from the brink of extinction. Now, there have been plans to reintroduce it back into its former range where it had once disappeared. But as part of the goal, several individuals involved in the conservation have gathered together to discuss different techniques to control any diseases that can affect the antelope. I feel that it is necessary because the world cannot risk losing the animal, which slowly made a comeback thanks to captive breeding in both the Middle East and the U.S. However, the Arabian oryx's relative, the scimitar-horned oryx, is still confined to captivity. And I firmly think that captive breeding is crucial for its survival and at the same time, measures to reintroduce it back in its former range should be undertaken.
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