11/13/05 Arabian Oryx (Oryx Leucoryx) at the Arabian Oryx Exhibit. The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens, Palm Desert, Riverside County, CA.
Arabian oryx are the smallest oryx, measuring four feet high at the shoulder. Their coats are white with black markings on their faces, chocolate brown to black legs, and tawny lines across their flanks.
Arabian oryx's former habitat was the stony, sandy desert regions of the Arabian and Sinai Peninsula, Jordan, Syria and Iraq. Although now extinct in the wild, it was reintroduced into Oman in the 1980's.
Prized for their horns and coat, Arabian oryx are endangered. Since motorized hunting and automatic weapons began in the mid 1940's, the Arabian oryx became extinct in the wild by 1972.
A few were in private collections in Arabia, and in the World Herd in the United States. This herd grew out of Operation Oryx, organized in 1962 by the Fauna and Flora Preservation society, to ensure the survival of the species in captivity. By 1982, ecological and social conditions in central Oman were stabilized enough for the release of a carefully developed herd. The long-term aim is to reestablish a viable population.