Did you Know?
  • The Lappet-faced Vulture, a regular winter visitor to the DDCR, has a wingspan of 2.5-3 metres (8-10 feet)

The Genetic Study of the Arabian Oryx Population in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Project Summary

Over the past 20 years the breeding of Arabian Oryx has been very successful, both in Dubai and around the world. Bring the species back from the state of Extinct in the wild and classified as Endangered by the IUCN Red List to having healthy re-introduced populations in a number of countries have led to a downgrade of its endangered status to Vulnerable. However it is important to now change the objective from reproduction to a sustainable population by ensuring we have the most genetically diverse and viable population possible to ensure their long term survival. This research aims to achieve the following;

  • Ascertain the genetic diversity of the Oryx population found within the Dubai Emirate.
  • Utilize the genetic data to develop a strategy to improve the genetic quality of Dubai’s Arabian Oryx population.
  • Contribute to the regional efforts for the conservation of Arabian Oryx.

Research Objectives

  • Collect blood, Tissue or Plucked hair samples from 10% of the Dubai population.
  • Complete genetic analysis on all of these samples.
  • Establish the level of genetic diversity within the Dubai population and measure it against the genetic diversity and maternal lines of genetically known populations.
  • Design a genetic management program to enhance the genetic diversity of the Dubai population as well as contributing to other regional programs.

Methodology

There are approximately 2000 individual in the Arabian Oryx population of Dubai this comprises collections under intensive management as well as populations in extensive Protected areas. As stated the goal will be to collect either Tissue or blood samples from 10% of the population as per the University of Edinburgh, Arabian Oryx Genetic Management – Sampling Protocol (attached). Samples will be collected from as many different herds as possible within each collection. Tissue samples will be collected with a biopsy needle shot from a dart gun and blood samples will only be collected if the animals are being handled for other reasons.

Expected Outcomes

  • A report will be prepared by University of Edinburgh, Conservation Genetics Lab. This report will detail the results of the DNA extraction and sequencing, providing us with a genetic profile of the Arabian population within Dubai.
  • The data gathered from the genetic report will be utilized to develop a plan to maximize the genetic diversity of the Dubai oryx population. This will be completed by assessing the differences in genetic material between the different herds in Dubai as well as other populations with known genetics and developing a plan of exchange to maximize genetic diversity in the DDCR herd as well as the other herds in Dubai and the region.