Arabian Oryx

(Oryx leucoryx)




Facts about this animal

The Arabian Oryx is a stout, well-muscled antelope of striking appearance. This is the smallest species of the Oryx genus (Oryx dammah, Oryx gazella and Oryx leucoyx). The height is about 90 cm the shoulder, the weight is 65-70 kg. The horns are slender, pointed and have a slight curve rearward. They grow up to 75 cm. Most of the body is either creamy or bright white in colour, which contrasts with dark markings on the head, legs and tail. The dark markings are a rich, chocolate brown, which may vary in intensity. The Arabian Oryx is highly specialised for its desert environment as the bright upper coat reflects the suns rays.

Did you know?
that the Arabian oryx is the most highly specialized of the oryx for living in true desert extremes? Their light colour reflects the desert heat and sunlight, and they can erect their hair on cold winter mornings to capture warmth to hold in their thick undercoats. Their legs also darken in the winter to absorb more of the sun's heat.


Name (Scientific) Oryx leucoryx
Name (English) Arabian Oryx
Name (French) Oryx blanc, Oryx d'Arabie
Name (German) Arabische Oryx, Weisse Oryx
Name (Spanish) Oryx blanco, Oryx de Arabia
CITES Status Appendix I
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Zachi Evenor



Range Reintroduced in: Bahrain, Israel, Oman, Saudi Arabia
Habitat Arid plains and deserts
Wild population Approx. 1.000 (reintroduced) (Red List IUCN 2011)
Zoo population 734 reported to ISIS (2005)

In the Zoo

Arabian Oryx


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 73 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


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Why do zoos keep this animal

The Arabian oryx became extinct in the wild by the late 1960s due to indiscriminate hunting. In an effort to help save these animals, nine Arabian oryx from private collections in Oman, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia, as well as from the London Zoo, were moved to the Phoenix Zoo in Arizona. These nine oryx became known as the World Herd. A second breeding group of three, from a zoo in Saudi Arabia, was started at the Los Angeles Zoo, and subsequently many other zoos joined this conservation breeding programme, from which animals could be reintroduced to various of their former range states.