Our Animals - Scimitar Horned Oryx
Our Animals > Scimitar Horned Oryx
The Scimitar Oryx, or Scimitar-Horned Oryx, (Oryx dammah) is a species of oryx which formerly inhabited the whole of North Africa. Today it has been classified as extinct in the wild by the IUCN
The Scimitar Oryx is just over a metre (3.28 ft) at the shoulder and weighs around two hundred kilograms (440 lbs). Its coat is white with a red-brown chest and black markings on the forehead and down the length of the nose. The horns are long, thin and symetrical and curve backwards (like a scimitar) and can reach a metre to a metre and a quarter (3.28 - 4.1 ft) on both sexes, male and female.
Scimitar Oryx natively inhabit steppe and desert where they eat leaves, grass and fruit. They form herds of mixed sex containing up to seventy animals. Formerly they would gather in groups of several thousand for migration. Scimitar Oryx can survive without water for many weeks, because their kidneys prevent loss of water from urination and they can modify their body temperature to avoid perspiration.
Scimitar Oryx were hunted for their horns, almost to extinction. Where once they occupied the whole Sahara, they are now considered to be extinct in the wild, with no confirmed sightings in the wild for over 15 years. Although there have been unconfirmed sightings in Chad and Niger, these reports have never been substantiated, despite extensive surveys that were carried out throughout Chad and Niger in 2001-2004 in an effort to detect Sahelo-Saharan antelopes