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
Coordinating Committee for the Conservation of the
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
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.