East African Oryx, Oryx beisa

The East African oryx (Oryx beisa), or the beisa, is an antelope that can be found in east Africa, as its name suggests. This species prefers steppes and semi desert areas. This oryx holds two subspecies, which occur in different areas of its range. The fringe-eared oryx occurs in areas of Tanzania and southern Kenya, south of the Tana River, while the common beisa oryx in the Horn of Africa and north of the Tana River. It was previously thought that the East African Oryx was a subspecies of the gemsbok, but this was proven untrue by genetic studies.

The East African oryx reaches an average weight of up to 175 pounds, with a height of around 3.2 feet at the shoulder. The majority of its fur is grey in color, with white fur occurring on the underbelly. A black stripe appears between the back and belly, with black stripes on the neck and back. Black stripes also appear on the face, on the forehead, on both cheeks, and on the nose.  Its mane is darker brown in color and both males and females grow horns. These ridged horns reach an average length of up to 31 inches.

The East African oryx gathers in groups between five and forty individuals, with one male and many females. The females typical move in the front of the group while the male falls behind for protection purposes. Some older males live solitary lives, meeting up with females only to breed. The diet of this oryx consists of leaves, fruits, buds, and grasses. The East African oryx appears on the IUCN Red List with a conservation status of “Near Threatened.”

Image Caption: Photograph: Beisa Oryx (Oryx gazella beisa), side view, Samburu National Reserve, Kenya. Credit: ChrisHodgesUK/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)