Conservation status

Extinct in the Wild

Life span

Up to 20 years


4.6 feet (1.4 meters) tall at the shoulder


Head and body length is between 4.9 to 7.5 feet (1.5 and 2.3 meters)


220 to 460 pounds (100 and 210 kilograms)

Native habitat

A century ago they inhibited in Desert to semi desert region of Northern Africa



Oryx dammah

Both male and female scimitar-horned oryx have long, ridged, sharp-tipped and curved backwards horns that grow to be several feet long. Oryx are mostly white with reddish-brown necks and marks on the face and a long, dark, tufted tail. The white coat helps reflect the heat of the desert. They are mainly active at night and around dusk and dawn. Scimitar-horned oryx have an interesting way of surviving with a shortage of water. They can tolerate a rise in body temperature by several degrees hence they do not need to sweat as much, which in turn conserves water also they dissipate heat through their appendages. They take moisture from the plants they eat in the desert habitat and this helps them to survive for months and even years without drinking water. Historically, these oryx lived in herds of 20 to 40 individuals, led by a single male. During migrations and times of plentiful water, herds of 1,000 or more were seen.



A century ago, they were freely roaming in the Sahara and Sahel regions of Northern Africa, a vast desert and sub-desert ecosystem that include parts of Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad, and Sudan. Unfortunately, due to overhunting, drought, and loss of food because of excessive livestock grazing, they became extinct in the wild. To re-introduce them into the wild marvellous effort has been taken by many organizations. The Chad Oryx Reintroduction Project released 23 individuals bred in captivity began in 2016. The Environmental Agency - Abu Dhabi, the Sahara Conservation Fund, the Zoological Society of London, and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute's Conservation Ecology Centre (CEC) collaboratively worked with the government of Chad and the international zoo community in this project to return oryx to the Ouadi Rimé-Ouadi Achim Game Reserve, a former stronghold of the species and one of the largest terrestrial protected areas in the world.