An animal that is so endangered it is "extinct in the wild" has been born at Hampshire's Marwell Zoo.

The zoo is celebrating the birth of a scimitar-horned oryx calf named Freya.

Born to Christina and Tenzi the one-month-old calf is said to be thriving and enjoying running around a large paddock shared with white rhinos, zebras and ostrich.

Romsey Advertiser: Christina, Tenzi and Freya Christina, Tenzi and Freya

Tim Rowlands, team leader at the zoo, said: “The calves will hide for the first few days, which is why their pelage is sand coloured and replaced with a white coat as they grow.

"After the first week, the calf follows the dam as she calls her to explore new areas but she’s not at the age to venture too far on her own just yet however calves are able to run as fast as the adults as early as 20 days old and she has been enjoying running around in the paddock.”

The once abundant scimitar-horned oryx was assessed as ‘extinct in the wild’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature in 2000.

The species is reliant on captive breeding and reintroduction efforts for its continued survival.

Marwell Zoo manages the International Studbook for scimitar-horned oryx and has been instrumental in creating international conservation strategies for the species.

Conservation Biologist Dr Tania Gilbert said: “The scimitar-horned oryx was one of the first species we brought to Marwell Zoo in November 1971. Since, we’ve had 378 births here, making the species one of our biggest success stories in terms of breeding and conservation success.

“We have reintroduced groups of oryx into protected areas in Tunisia to re-establish them in their natural habitat and we continue to research the re-established populations and work to enhance the biodiversity of the protected areas where they live.”

The Tunisian reintroductions began in 1985 with 10 scimitar-horned oryx from Marwell and Edinburgh Zoo coordinated by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and today there are nearly 300 oryx occurring across five protected areas.

Marwell Zoo is due to reopen from Monday, April 11 subject to Government guidance at the time.