Once extinct in the wild, this species is a reintroduction programme's success story.
Up to 20 years.
160cm long, standing 81-102cm at the shoulder and with a 45-60cm tail.
A horse-like antelope with a white coat, black markings on the face, legs dark chocolate brown and with a tawny line across the flanks. Horns nearly straight and with ridges.
Formerly across the Arabian and Sinai peninsula. Recently reintroduced into Oman, Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia after extinction in the wild.
They are grazers.
Oryx, despite being grazing antelope, have become adapted to particularly dry areas of desert vegetation. Unlike other grazing antelopes, these desert animals live in small herds of mixed sex which don't tolerate newcomers easily. A dominance hierarchy is established within the herd by strange, posturing displays, which avoid the danger of serious injury that their long, sharp horns could potentially inflict. Males and females use their horns to defend the sparse territorial resources against incomers. The herds use eyesight to keep in contact with each other.
Arabian oryx are extreme desert specialists. They form herds of about 10 animals, reaching 30 in good times, and occasionally dig scrapes with their horns in order to rest during the heat of the day.
Only the dominant male breeds. Gestation is 8.5-9 months after which one calf is born. Weaning takes place after 3.5 months, and sexual maturity is reached after 1.5-2 years.
Once hunted to extinction in the wild, being pursued by hunters in four-wheel drive vehicles, the Arabian oryx has been reintroduced to the wild twice. The first reintroduction took place in 1982 and for 14 years the population grew and was a success story for conservation. Unfortunately in 1996 poaching started. This was halted in 1999 and it is hoped the population will recover again. A second reintroduction in Saudi Arabia has proved successful so far.
The first artiodactyls (also called the 'even-toed ungulates') were present in the Eocene forests. The horned ruminants (deer, giraffe, antelope & cattle) first appear in the Miocene, taking advantage of the opening plains. The grazing antelopes like the oryx evolved to take advantage of all the grass-dominated environments in Africa.