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The Arabian Oryx, (Oryx leucoryx)

Is a medium sized antelope with a distinct shoulder hump, long straight horns, and a tufted tail.
It is a bovid, and the smallest member of Oryx genus, native to desert and steppe areas of the Arabian peninsula. The Arabian Oryx was extinct in the wild by the early 1970s, but was saved in zoos and private preserves and reintroduced into the wild starting in 1980.

The Arabian Oryx is classified as endangered on the IUCN Red List (2009.2), and is listed in CITES Appendix I. As of 2008, populations were estimated at about 1100 individuals in the wild and 6000–7000 individuals in captivity worldwide in zoos, preserves, and private collections.

A Qatari Oryx named "Orry" was chosen as the official Games mascot for the 2006 Asian Games in Doha.

Historically the Arabian Oryx probably ranged throughout most of the Middle East. In the early 1800s they could still be found in the Sinai, lower Palestine, the Transjordan, much of Iraq, and most of the Arabian peninsula.
During the 19th and early 20th centuries, the range of the Arabian Oryx was pushed back towards Saudi Arabia, and by 1914 there were only a few survivors outside that country.
There were a few reports of Arabian Oryx in Jordan into the 1930s, but by the mid 1930s the only remaining populations were in the Nafud Desert in the Northwest of Saudi Arabia and the Rub' al Khali in the South.

In the 1930s, Arabian princes and oil company clerks started hunting Arabian Oryx with automobiles and rifles. Hunts grew in size, and some were reported to employ as many as 300 vehicles. By the middle of the twentieth century, the Northern population was effectively extinct.
The last Arabian Oryx in the wild prior to reintroduction were reported in 1972.

Arabian Oryx prefer to range in gravel desert or hard sand where the speed and endurance will protect them from most predators, as well as most hunters on foot. In the sand deserts in Saudi Arabia, the Arabian Oryx used to be found in the hard sand areas of the flats between the softer dunes and ridges.

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Additional Photos by Alex Fan Moniz (LondonBoy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 83 W: 0 N: 363] (1882)
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