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Scimitar-horned Oryx

Animal Essentials

Scientific Name:
Oryx dammah
Park Location:
North and south of the Sahara
Woodland, grassland, coastal areas

Amazing Facts

Both male and female oryx can grow horns up to 1.2m in length.
Like camels, the oryx has adapted to their arid desert habitat and can go without water for days.

Scimitar-horned Oryx were once widespread throughout the semi-desert north and south of the Sahara, but are now extinct in the wild.

These antelopes are mostly white with reddish brown necks and marks on the face along with a long, dark, tufted tail. The white coat of the Oryx helps reflect the heat of the desert.

Excessive over hunting for meat and hide, along with trophy hunting for their magnificent horns, caused them to be declared extinct in the wild back in 1999. However, it also triggered an amazing conservation effort. This heavy bodied antelope has been exhibited at Flamingo Land since 2000. They are part of a European breeding programme, which ensures diverse genetic stability in endangered species.

They live in herds but the female will distance herself from the herd for a few hours before and after giving birth to a single calf. The calf is completely independent of its mother after 14 weeks.


The captive breeding of the Scimitar-horned Oryx has been so successful that it is now being re-released into parts of Tunisia. These animals are not fully released into the wild, but are given a vast area in which to roam, allowing researchers to compile detailed information. On completion of this information, the perimeter fencing will be removed and fingers crossed this handsome animal will once again roam freely throughout North Africa.

Threat Status

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