The most recent additions to the scimitar-horned oryx herd at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute are two calves borne from an improved artificial insemination method. Last month, the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal, Virginia, celebrated the births of two scimitar-horned oryx calves, a male and a female, following artificial insemination of their mothers. The healthy newborns not only add to the numbers of the critically endangered species, but they also validate the efforts of researchers to hone a new assisted reproduction technique that may prove crucial in the ongoing initiatives to reintroduce these animals into the wild. The recent births at SCBI are thanks to an insemination protocol that was first developed in the 1990s and gradually improved upon over the years. Six-year-old Esmerelda delivered a male calf on July 9 and the next day, a female calf was born to the five-year-old female, Leanne. In 2000, SCBI carried out their first artificial insemination procedure in scimitar-horned oryxes, featuring an injection sequence of a cocktail of hormones prior to impregnation. Intended for maximizing the chances of a successful pregnancy, these hormone concoctions were adapted from a recipe that was originally used for impregnating cattle. Later innovations […]

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