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WILD NATURE

'Unicorn' Brought Back From Extinction

The Arabian oryx, the desert antelope seen here that may have sparked the legend of the unicorn, has bounced back after being hunted almost to oblivion, the International Union for Conservation of Nature said.AFP

The last of the Arabian oryx was believed to have been shot in 1972, but a successful breeding program has its population now standing at 1,000 in its Arabian peninsula habitat.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) moved the species from its "endangered" list to the "vulnerable" classification. The group told the Guardian that this is the first time a species that was classified as extinct has been brought back.

Many people believe the two-horned oryx is the source of the unicorn legend, the one-horned creature that's a prominent feature in storybook fables about princes and dragons.

"To have brought the Arabian oryx back from the brink of extinction is a major feat and a true conservation success story, one which we hope will be repeated many times over for other threatened species," Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, director general of the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, told the U.K. paper.

Despite the "unicorn" being brought back from extinction, the conservation group announced that there were eight species of frogs, salamanders and toads that are critically endangered.

Read more about more about the "unicorn" brought back from extinction at the Guardian.