The addax is on the verge of extinction in the wild but there is hope for the species with collaborative efforts worldwide
The Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo, has announced the birth of a male addax on July 2, 2022, which is significant as this species is critically endangered and on the verge of extinction in the wild.
According to the Chicago Zoological Society, there is an estimated population of potentially less than 100 addaxes left in the wild.1
The calf was born to 5-year-old female Simone and 8-year-old male Ishnala. Throughout the next few weeks, the infant will mostly remain in a nesting area out of public view though he has started to explore outside where guests can view him in one of the 31st Street habitats on the zoo’s northwest side.
Fun facts about the addax
The Chicago Zoological Society highlighted some interesting traits of this “desert-adapted antelope”1:
In older addax, their horns can spiral almost 3 turns and extend about 3 feet
The addax are one of a group of species called “horse-like antelope,” unique in that the females have horns as long as those of the males.
The addax's legs are shorter than those of most antelope, so they have a low center of gravity and remain steady even when sand shifts under foot.
The addax receives almost all the moisture they need from the sap of vegetation and from dew, going almost their entire lives without drinking water at all. When vegetation is not available, they live off the water stored in their body.
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Addax Species Survival Plan (SSP) recommended the pairing of Simone and Ishnala. Since the Addax SSP was launched in 1989, the Chicago Zoological Society has been an active participant. In fact, since 1935 Brookfield Zoo has exhibited addax, and in 1941 was the first zoo in North America to have an addax birth.1
At one time, the addax was found in large numbers throughout the Sahara Desert, unfortunately though because of illegal hunting for its meat, horns, and hide, plus oil exploration and production, the species may not be around for future generations. The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) has reported the only known remaining population thought to be viable is in the Termit/Tin Toumma region of Niger.2 Collaborative efforts across the globe offer hope for the species.
Addax—a critically endangered antelope—born at Brookfield Zoo. News release. Chicago Zoological Society. July 19, 2022. Accessed July 20, 2022. https://www.czs.org/Chicago-Zoological-Society/About/Press-room/2022-Press-Releases/Addax%E2%80%94a-Critically-Endangered-Antelope%E2%80%94Born-at-Bro
To save the addax antelope, the oil sector and government must work together with conservationists. The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. February 22, 2022. https://www.iucn.org/crossroads-blog/202202/save-addax-antelope-oil-sector-and-government-must-work-together