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Antelopes are ruminant hoofed mammals of the family Bovidae in the order of even-toed ungulates (Artiodactyla). Antelopes are spread relatively evenly throughout the various subfamilies of Bovidae and many are more closely related to cows or goats than to each other. In the Sahara, there are two species of antelope: the addax and the scimitar-horned oryx.

Barbary Sheep

Weighing up to 145kg, the goat-like Barbary sheep or aoudad, as it is sometimes called, is an unmistakable but rarely seen denizen of the Sahara’s mountains. Russet or brown in colour, the long mane and chaps are distinguishing marks. Horns are present in both sexes, with those of the male large and heavily keeled in mature animals.

Scimitar-horned Oryx

Large antelope (130-180 kg) with long, backward-sweeping, curved horns. Overall pelage off-white with strongly contrasting reddish wash to the neck and upper chest. Reddish facial markings through the eye and across the bridge of the nose. Tail long and well-tufted.

Sandscript - Issue 19

Welcome to this special issue of Sandscript focussing on the very recent and highly successful return of scimitar-horned oryx to the Republic of Chad after an absence of almost three decades.

SCF Oryx Project receives strong presidential support

As SCF’s logo, the oryx represents the threats that face desert wildlife but also the hope that one day this magnificent animal will once again roam free on African soil. This once abundant species of antelope occupied the vast, dry, sub-Saharan grasslands but fell prey over time to a lethal combination of overhunting, drought and habitat loss.Thankfully, significant numbers of oryx exist in collections across the world and efforts to restore the species to the wild are underway in Tunisia, Senegal and Morocco.

Greening of the desert

Read the latest issue of Sandscript, SCF’s regular newsletter, now available for download online or in hard copy by contacting SCF (scf@bluewin.ch).

In this issue, travel with SCF scientist, Tim Wacher, to Chad in search of the critically endangered dama gazelle and to study a whole range of fascinating desert species in this virtually unknown part of the Sahara desert.

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