Arabian oryx

Arabian oryx

Scientific name
Oryx leucoryx
Order
mammals
Family
פריים Bovidae
Social Structure
Herd
Activity
Food
Vegetarian
Eats grass
Dangers

Hunting in the past for its horns and flesh

תוכנית שימור בגן
conservation status
EN
Extinct
EX
Extinct in the Wild
EW
Critically endangered
CR
Endangered
EN
Vulnerable
VU
Near Threatened
NT
least Concern
LC
Deficient Data
DD
In the Bible

“His firstling bullock, majesty is his; and his horns are the horns of the wild-ox; with them he shall gore…” (Deuteronomy 33:17)

Weight
KG
210
-
100
Life Expectancy
years
20
Interesting To Know

The last Arabian oryx in the wild was hunted by unlawful hunters in 1972. Fortunately, there was an attempt to establish breeding groups in the 1950’s, and in 1962, a few individuals were transferred to a zoo in Phoenix, Arizona, in the United States. The climate there is very similar to their natural habitat. Today, there is a population in captivity which numbers over 6,000 individuals. A process of releasing to the wild has begun in Oman, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, and Jordan, under supervision. The current number of individuals in the wild is estimated to be roughly 1,000. The oryx is a symbol of Qatar Airways and served as the official mascot of the Asian Games of 2006, which took place in Qatar.

The oryx has adapted well to life in extreme desert conditions. It can survive for weeks without drinking water and is active mainly at night. It can walk for long periods of time and vast distances in search of food. At times, it digs trenches with the aid of its horns and legs, to be used for resting places which are shaded and cooler than the sizzling environment. It is extremely difficult to find an oryx in the field since it migrates throughout its habitat. Although rain is rare in the desert, the oryx can distinguish rain from afar and can find for itself grasslands. There are zoologists who believe that the oryx has internal radar which helps them observe changes in weather. Since the oryx lives in difficult desert weather conditions, it has developed several ways to deal with the heat and the lack of water. Its fur is used as a cooling system. The fur’s glaring white color reflects most of the heat that comes from the sun. The oryx can live without water and can refrain from drinking for years. They provide for their need for fluids by licking dew collected early in the morning from the desert vegetation. Its wide variety of food sources includes desert vegetation.

Photo: Shai Ben Ami

Endangered status
en
Worldwide
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Israel
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