Status & conservation in Saudi Arabia

Arabian oryx

Regions in Saudi Arabia known to have once held Arabian oryx include the Great Nafud Desert, the Rub' al-Khali (or 'Empty Quarter') and the sandy area known as the ad-Dahna, which links these two sand deserts. Gravel corridors and plains over which the animals were able to range for hundreds of kilometres also presumably offered suitable forage after rainfalls.

With the flow of oil revenue to Saudi Arabia in the second half of the 20th century, pressures on oryx populations increased dramatically and hunters bearing automatic weapons and travelling in motorised fleets heavily persecuted them for trophies and for meat. The Arabian oryx probably disappeared from Saudi Arabia in the 1960-70s.

To restore the species from exticntion, National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC) had started Arabian oryx captive breeding programme in 1986 and released in protected areas.