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Mhorr's gazelle, western dama gazelle
(like a deer)
The Mhorr's gazelle is a medium-sized gazelle with a mostly white body, a top blanket of dark rust color, and short black horns
Approximately 0.9-1.2 m (3-4 ft.) at the shoulder
39.6-74.25 kg (88-165 lb.)
Includes acacia and bush leaves, grasses, and herbs
Gestation lasts approximately 6.5 months; typically one offspring at a time
Young nurse for 4 to 9 months
Averages 12 years
Inhabits open steppes, grassy steppes, semi deserts, deserts
Extinct in the wild
Mhorr's gazelle is also referred to as the western dama gazelle. Dama gazelles are known for having extremely long legs, which raises their body off the hot desert sand to keep them cool. In addition, their long legs provide extra surface area on their body to radiate heat.
They are the tallest of all gazelles, due to lean bodies with long neck and legs. They are also the darkest subspecies of the dama gazelle tribe.
They are known to rear up on hind legs to reach tall browse.
When migrating during times of drought, many Mhorr's die due to lack of food, not water. Like many mammals living in arid regions, adapting to long periods without drinking water is necessary. Most of these animals are successful at exacting water from food.
ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION
By eating the grasses, Mhorr's get all the water they need during the rainy season, but migrate to find drinking water during dry periods.
Mhorr's gazelles are an important food source for many predators.
As with most mammals found in North Africa they are on the brink of extinction due to over-hunting and habitat destruction.
In a cooperative effort with other AZA (American Association of Zoos and Aquariums) institutions, Busch Gardens closely manages Mhorr's gazelle populations through a program called the Species Survival Plan (SSP), which works to improve the genetic diversity of managed animal populations. Busch Gardens currently has 30 SSP animals.
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