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Animal Database
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Animal Database
Oryx
Oryx Dammah
A Scimitar Oryx
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Mammalia
Order Artiodactyla
Family Bovidae
Genus Oryx

Oryx is a genus consisting of four large antelope species. Three of them are native to arid parts of Africa, and the fourth to the Arabian Peninsula. Their fur is pale with contrasting dark markings in the face and on the legs, and their long horns are almost straight. The exception is the scimitar oryx, which lacks dark markings on the legs, only has faint dark markings on the head, has an ochre neck, and horns that are clearly decurved.

The Arabian Oryx was only saved from extinction through a captive breeding program and reintroduction to the wild. The scimitar oryx, which is now listed as Extinct in the Wild, also relies on a captive breeding program for its survival. Small populations of several oryx species, such as the Scimitar Oryx, exist in Texas and New Mexico (USA) in wild game ranches. Gemsboks were released at the White Sands Missile Range and have become an invasive species of concern at the adjacent White Sands National Monument.

Etymology[]

The term "oryx" comes from the Greek word Ὂρυξ, óryx, for a type of antelope. The Greek plural form is óryges, although oryxes has been established in English.

Ecology[]

All oryx species prefer near-desert conditions and can survive without water for long periods. They live in herds of up to 600 animals. Newborn calves are able to run with the herd immediately after birth. Both males and females possess permanent horns. The horns are narrow, and straight except in the scimitar oryx, where they curve backwards like a scimitar. The horns are lethal — the oryx has been known to kill lions with them, and oryxes are thus sometimes called the sabre antelope (not to be confused with the Sable Antelope). The horns also make the animals a prized game trophy, which has led to the near-extinction of the two northern species.

Genera[]

Genus Oryx

Scimitar Oryx, O. dammah
Gemsbok, O. gazella
East African Oryx, O. beisa
 East African Oryx, O. b. beisa
 Fringe-eared Oryx, O. b. callotis
Arabian Oryx, O. leucoryx
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