Scimitar-Horned Oryx

QUICK FACTS

Scientific Name

Oryx dammah

Species Survival Plan

Yes

Habitat

Semi-desert habitat transition area of Sahara between true desert (Sahara) and the savanna (Sahel) woodland zones

Predators

Man, lion, leopard, hyena and hunting dog

Food

Grasses, acacia pods, shrubs, succulent bulbs, wild melons, cucumbers, tubers, fruits and leaves

Originally Native To

Northern Africa

Height

48 inches at shoulders

Weight

300 lb.

Characteristics

Antelope with long curving horns up to 36 inches on both sexes; white coat, brown chest and neck

Gestation Period

8 months

Offspring

1 calf

Birth Season

March - October

Lifespan

Wild ?
Captivity 20 years

Social Behavior

Nomadic herds of 10 - 30 females and young led by a dominant male

iucn_badge_extinct_in_wild

About Scimitar-Horned Oryx

The scimitar-horned oryx once again roams the grasslands of Chad. Extinct in the wild in the late 1980s, 23 animals were released to native habitat in Aug. 2016. The release is orchestrated by Environmental Agency – Abu Dhabi and Sahara Conservation Fund. It aims to have several hundred animals in Chad over the next few years.

Animals from captive populations worldwide, including Fossil Rim, are forming a World Herd in Abu Dhabi, from which release animals are drawn. Scimitar-horned oryx were victims of uncontrolled hunting, habitat loss, droughts and continued regional warfare, as well as intense domestic animal grazing.

In the early 1970s, the scimitar-horned oryx, together with the addax, were considered the most endangered of the African antelope. Most founder bloodlines for scimitars currently located in North America and Europe derive from two captures that took place in Chad in 1963 and 1966. While they have done well in captivity, these animals have not been so fortunate in the wild.

The scimitar-horned oryx is named for its long curving horns, which may grow beyond 36 inches. In fact, this is the only oryx with curved horns.

Its horns are used mainly for ritualized sparring competitions between rival males, but also during courtship. Its coat is white with a chestnut brown neck and chest, as well as a brown stripe over its eyes. These oryx are perfectly camouflaged for desert dwelling.

They are highly selective feeders and utilize plants with high water and protein content. Because of their ability to locate and select these plants and physiologically conserve water, these oryx are capable of going for months without a free water source.

One calf is born after a gestation period of eight months and nurses until about five months of age. Calves also form groups within the herd called “créches.”

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ANYTHING YOU GIVE HELPS THE ANIMALS

As a private nonprofit corporation, Fossil Rim does not receive national or state government support. Every cent spent or donated here goes in some way, directly or indirectly, toward the care of our animals.