Captive & Wild Populations

There are captive populations of oryx in Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. In Oman a captive herd at His Majesty’s Bait al Barakah Breeding Centre has supplied animals for the reintroduction programme in the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary.

A free ranging population was established in Saudi Arabia in 1989 with the creation of the Mahazat as-Sayd protected area. This fenced reserve covers 2244 sq. km and is home to reintroduced oryx, gazelle and houbara bustard.

Outside Oman the only wild population of oryx is found in the ‘Uruq Bani Ma’arid protected area in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This population was established in 1995 with the reintroduction of captive-bred animals from elsewhere in the Kingdom. The reserve covers some 12,000 sq. km at the western edge of the Rub’al-Khali or ‘Empty Quarter’. By March 1997 numbers in the wild had reached 100 and had doubled to approximately 200 by September 2001.

In Jordan it is hoped that oryx may be released to the Wadi Rum


Coordinating Committee for the Conservation of the Arabian Oryx

March 1999, Abu Dhabi, UAE
The 1st Abu Dhabi International Arabian Oryx conference was called to address problems currently facing the Arabian oryx and review aspects of its management both in captivity and the wild. The conference took an in-depth look at the species history, status, management, and veterinary aspects and assessed threats putting the species at risk. The principal recommendation of the conference was: -

To establish a coordinating body with the purpose to facilitate the conservation of the Arabian oryx in the range states with the long term objective to establish a viable population that will roam freely the Arabian Peninsula. In order to facilitate this process the conference recommends that a secretariat be established in one of the range states. The conference welcomes the invitation of Oman to host the constituting meeting of the coordinating body.

January 2000, Muscat, Oman
The constituting meeting of the Coordinating Committee for the Conservation of the Arabian Oryx (CCCAO) was attended by representatives from Oman, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Qatar as well as the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Reintroduction Specialist Group of IUCN.

The meeting agreed the terms of reference of the CCCAO and of the Secretariat. It welcomed the offer by the UAE to host the Secretariat and agreed on the establishment of an Oryx Fund to finance the work of the secretariat.

October 2001, Abu Dhabi, UAE
At the 2nd Meeting of the CCCAO the structure and internal regulation of the CCCAO, the Secretariat and the Oryx Fund were agreed. A Strategy was agreed. The general aim of the strategy was the ‘Coordination of efforts to conserve Arabian Oryx wherever they might be found’. Key outputs and activities of the strategy are as follows: -

  • To encourage the establishment of wild populations of Arabian oryx in their historical distribution range in accordance with IUCN guidelines on reintroduction.

  • To establish an active communication network and databases to serve programmes for conservation of the Arabian oryx.

  • To develop a special Internet web site for the CCCAO and links to all projects and programmes on conservation of Arabian oryx.

  • To design a periodical news publication on the work of the CCCAO.

  • To help coordinate efforts to eliminate illegal trade of Arabian oryx and to organise the trade process in accordance with International Conventions.

  • To encourage exchange of animals between collections in order to improve the genetic characteristics and health of the Arabian oryx herds.



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