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Oryx dammah

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Within a few decades, Oryx completely disappeared in the wild. This large antelope was a typical species of pre-desert steppes and grasslands bordering the desert. Once widespread in these areas, the latest Oryx disappeared in Niger and Chad in the 1990s.

Oryx dammah

The Oryx dammah moved according to the renewal of grazing. On a physiological level, the coat reflects the pale rays of the sun, while the black portions provide protection against sunburn. These characteristics, combined with well-developed hoof that enable Oryx to move easily on sand, are adaptations to the arid environment where the animal lives. The Oryx well suited to the sahelian steppes and savannas may remain for many days without drinking.
In the wild, and with the exception of older males, the Oryx is found only rarely isolated. He lived in herds usually not more than a dozen individuals. Concentrations of several hundred individuals were not uncommon in the recent past, when the emergence of temporary pasture. Concentrations of several thousand oryx have been reported several times in the 1950s, in particular in Chad and Niger. Today the species is extinct in the wild.

This species had been domesticated in ancient Egyptians, and it stands easily in captivity, especially in zoos. With carefully selected individuals in zoo, the first project to reintroduce the species in situ have been developed and is continuing particularly in national parks of Morocco and Tunisia

Oryx dammah

Oryx dammah
  • Extinct in the wild
  • Last photo 1980; Niger (Aïr Mountains)
  • Last animal 1990 ? Rumours persist
  • captive population OK but limited founders

IUCN RED LIST 2007: Extinct in the Wild (EW)

A taxon is Extinct in the Wild when it is known only to survive in cultivation, in captivity or as a naturalized population (or populations) well outside the past range. A taxon is presumed Extinct in the Wild when exhaustive surveys in known and/or expected habitat, at appropriate times (diurnal, seasonal, annual), throughout its historic range have failed to record an individual. Surveys should be over a time frame appropriate to the taxon's life cycle and life form.


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Last modified : February 20, 2009