Overview

Brief Summary

The East African oryxes have traditionally been treated as a single species, Oryx beisa (and often even considered conspecific with the Gemsbok, O. gazella, of southwestern Africa). According to Groves (2011), however, although they are very similar in appearance they are best treated as three distinct species: Beisa Oryx (O. beisa), found in northern and central Somalia and the Ogaden region of Ethiopia north to Berbera, west to Eritrea, and south into the Awash Valley; Oryx (O. gallarum), found in northern Kenya and northeastern Uganda and extending into Somalia and southeastern Ethiopia; and Fringe-eared Oryx (O. callotis), found in southeastern Kenya and northeastern Tanzania.

The Beisa Oryx is a large antelope with a thick neck, long face, and long straight horns. It is found mainly in desert country, arid grassland, and scrub. It typically occurs in small herds of 7 to 30 individuals. It is reported to be common in the Awash National Park, but declining elsewhere due to hunting and overgrazing. Population declines likely approached 25% over the past three generations.

(Kingdon 1997; Groves 2011)

  • Groves, C.P. 2011. Genus Oryx. Pp. 688-692 in: Wilson, D.E. and Mittermeier, R.A., eds. Handbook of the Mammals of the World. Volume 2. Hoofed Mammals. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  • Kingdon, J. 1997. The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals. Academic Press, San Diego.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Leo Shapiro

Supplier: Leo Shapiro

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Distribution

Beisa Oryx (Oryx beisa, often treated as O. b. beisa) are found in northern and central Somalia and the Ogaden region of Ethiopia north to Berbera, west to Eritrea, and south into the Awash Valley (Groves 2011).

  • Groves, C.P. 2011. Genus Oryx. Pp. 688-692 in: Wilson, D.E. and Mittermeier, R.A., eds. Handbook of the Mammals of the World. Volume 2. Hoofed Mammals. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Leo Shapiro

Supplier: Leo Shapiro

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Physical Description

Morphology

The Beisa Oryx is a large antelope with a thick neck, long face, and long straight horns (Kingdon 1997; Groves 2011).

  • Groves, C.P. 2011. Genus Oryx. Pp. 688-692 in: Wilson, D.E. and Mittermeier, R.A., eds. Handbook of the Mammals of the World. Volume 2. Hoofed Mammals. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  • Kingdon, J. 1997. The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals. Academic Press, San Diego.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Leo Shapiro

Supplier: Leo Shapiro

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Type Information

Type for Oryx beisa beisa
Catalog Number: USNM 155436
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Unknown;
Preparation: Skin
Collector(s): J. White
Year Collected: 1908
Locality: Laikipia Plateau, Vicinity Of N Guaso Nyiro River, Kenya, Africa
  • Type: Hollister, N. 1910 Mar 31. Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections. 56 (2): 7.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Systems
  • Terrestrial
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Beisa Oryx (Oryx beisa, often treated as O. b. beisa) is found mainly in desert country, arid grassland, and scrub (Kingdon 1997; Groves 2011).

  • Groves, C.P. 2011. Genus Oryx. Pp. 688-692 in: Wilson, D.E. and Mittermeier, R.A., eds. Handbook of the Mammals of the World. Volume 2. Hoofed Mammals. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  • Kingdon, J. 1997. The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals. Academic Press, San Diego.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Leo Shapiro

Supplier: Leo Shapiro

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Beisa Oryx (Oryx beisa, often treated as O. b. beisa) typically occur in small herds of 7 to 30 individuals (Kingdon 1997; Groves 2011).

  • Groves, C.P. 2011. Genus Oryx. Pp. 688-692 in: Wilson, D.E. and Mittermeier, R.A., eds. Handbook of the Mammals of the World. Volume 2. Hoofed Mammals. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  • Kingdon, J. 1997. The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals. Academic Press, San Diego.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Leo Shapiro

Supplier: Leo Shapiro

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
NT
Near Threatened

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group

Reviewer/s
Mallon, D.P. (Antelope Red List Authority) & Hoffmann, M. (Global Mammal Assessment)

Contributor/s

Justification
Estimated numbers were c. 50,000, with only ca.17% in protected areas. This species is considered to be more susceptible to threats because of the small part of its population that occurs within Pas. Continuation of present trends would result in this subspecies’ eventual disappearance from its remaining strongholds in Ethiopia and reduction to a few surviving populations in parts of Kenya, e.g., protected areas such as Sibiloi and Marsabit, Laikipia ranchland and possibly a few remote parts of the unprotected northern rangelands. Listed as Near Threatened as it almost qualifies for threatened under criterion A2 and A4.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Beisa Oryx (Oryx beisa, often treated as O. b. beisa) are reported to be common in the Awash National Park, but declining elsewhere due to hunting and overgrazing. Population declines likely approached 25% over the past three generations.

(Kingdon 1997; Groves 2011)

  • Groves, C.P. 2011. Genus Oryx. Pp. 688-692 in: Wilson, D.E. and Mittermeier, R.A., eds. Handbook of the Mammals of the World. Volume 2. Hoofed Mammals. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  • Kingdon, J. 1997. The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals. Academic Press, San Diego.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Leo Shapiro

Supplier: Leo Shapiro

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Population

Population Trend
Decreasing
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

The East African oryxes have traditionally been treated as a single species, Oryx beisa (and often even considered conspecific with the Gemsbok, O. gazella, of southwestern Africa). According to Groves (2011), however, although they are very similar in appearance they are best treated as three distinct species: Beisa Oryx (O. beisa), found in northern and central Somalia and the Ogaden region of Ethiopia north to Berbera, west to Eritrea, and south into the Awash Valley; Oryx (O. gallarum), found in northern Kenya and northeastern Uganda and extending into Somalia and southeastern Ethiopia; and Fringe-eared Oryx (O. callotis), found in southeastern Kenya and northeastern Tanzania.

(Kingdon 1997; Groves 2011)

  • Groves, C.P. 2011. Genus Oryx. Pp. 688-692 in: Wilson, D.E. and Mittermeier, R.A., eds. Handbook of the Mammals of the World. Volume 2. Hoofed Mammals. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  • Kingdon, J. 1997. The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals. Academic Press, San Diego.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Leo Shapiro

Supplier: Leo Shapiro

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Disclaimer

EOL content is automatically assembled from many different content providers. As a result, from time to time you may find pages on EOL that are confusing.

To request an improvement, please leave a comment on the page. Thank you!