Saving the Arabian Oryx from extinction! – A story of coming back home

The Arabian Oryx a species of antelope indigenous to the middle east has been under threat of extinction since the early 1900s. By the 1960s it was believed that the last existing two separate populations of oryxes found in the middle east were diminishing and would go extinct within the next couple of years.


Operation Oryx

A captive breeding programme name Operation Oryx was initiated within the next couple of years with funding from the WWF and the technical support of the Phoenix Zoo and the Flora and Fauna International. A “World herd” of oryxes donated by the different middle eastern and north African nations were taken to the Phoenix Zoo. A reintroduction programme was later initiated to bring in the oryx back to the MENA region.

United Arab Emirates

Just beyond Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island Al Yamm Villa Resort which is one of Anantara’s two Abu Dhabi beach resorts, is the Sir Bani Yas island reserves where a heard of over 400 oryxes now roam free. The island is a sanctuary to most species found in the emirate.


By 1980 the number of Arabian oryxes bred in captivity was reintroduced to Oman. A population which was once 450 individual species have now, unfortunately, dropped to a staggering number of 65 oryxes due to oil drilling activity and illegal poaching.

Saudi Arabia

After several failed attempts of reintroduction, Saudi Arabia has now been successful in hosting a free-ranging heard within the Mahazat as-Sayd Protected Area a fenced reserve of 866 square miles.

Roland Lefevre is a travel writer who specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe. Google+