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Newborn foals bring number of endangered Chinese saiga antelope to over 100

05-30-2011 16:58 BJT

LANZHOU, May 30 (Xinhua) -- The number of endangered saiga antelope living in China has exceeded 100 after 31 foals have been born since late April, a zoologist said Monday.

Domesticated saiga antelope at the Gansu Endangered Animal Research Center in northwest China's Gansu Province have given birth to 31 foals since April 26, bringing the total number to 105, said Zhao Chongxue, the center's deputy director.

The center, built in 1987 on the southern edge of the Tengger Desert, is breeding saiga antelope and other endangered animals like Bactrian camels and wild Mongolian horses, Zhao said.

Saiga antelope, which originally inhabited a vast area of the Eurasian steppe zone, are listed as a critically endangered species by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

The antelope are considered to be extinct in the wild in China, as no wild saiga antelope have been found in decades.

The Gansu Endangered Animal Research Center has brought over a dozen saiga antelope from overseas areas, where they are still plentiful, since 1988. The rest of China's saiga antelope were bred from these imported antelopes.

"The number of saiga antelope is still relatively low," Zhao said. "We need to breed more of these animals in order to reintroduce them to the wild."

Editor:Du Xiaodan |Source: Xinhua

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