The scimitar-horned oryx (Oryx dammah) has been declared by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) extinct in nature. Currently several zoos are committed to the protection of this species through ex situ reproduction programs for the purpose of subsequent repopulation in the areas of origin. However, thanks to the favourable conditions in the parks, the small groups of hosted subjects are sometimes reproducing excessively, creating serious concerns due the high level of inbreeding. For this reason, the EEZA (European Association of Zoos and Aquariums) has ordered to stop the reproduction of the species in the park “Le Cornelle” (Valbrembo, BG). However, given the potential importance of the breeding males hosted in the park, which could be moved to other zoos in the future to expand the genetic pool, Le Cornelle has opted for an experimental treatment using a contraceptive drug designed for dogs and never tested in the oryx. This product was expected to induce temporary infertility in healthy, sexually mature entire males. Based on the analysis of faecal androgens and behaviour, it seems that the treatment, which consists of a subcutaneous implant of deslorelin acetate, may be effective to temporarily control reproduction in the Oryx dammah male.


Bonacina E., Negri G., Mattiello S., Gabai G., Groppetti D. (2020) Deslorelin subcutaneous implants in Oryx dammah males for reproductive control. Theriogenology, 149: 72-78, [Doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2020.03.018].