Addax Antelope

Addax Antelope

Scientific Classification

Common Name
addax antelope
Genus Species
Addax (wild animal with crooked horns) nasomaculatus (nasus - the nose, macula - a spot or mark)

Fast Facts

Both sexes have horns, mat of brown hair on forehead, rest of body grayish-white
Head and body length: 150 to 170 cm (59.1 to 66.9 in.)
Male: 99 to 123.75 kg (220 to 275 lbs.)
Female: 60 to 125 kg (132 to 275 lbs.)
Desert succulents, grasses and herbs, leaves of small bushes
257 to 264 days; one offspring per birth weighing 4.7 to 6.75 kg (10.5 to 15 lbs.)
Sexual Maturity
Male: At 3 years
Female: At 1.5 years
Life Span
Up to 19 years
Northern Africa (Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger)
Sand and stony desert, semi-desert, and barren steppes
Global:Approximately 500 left in the wild
IUCN: Critically Endangered
CITES: Appendix I
USFWS: Endangered

Fun Facts

  1. Addax possess broad, flat hooves with flat soles that help prevent them from sinking into the desert sand.
  2. These antelope are one of the few species where male and females have horns of the same size.
  3. These desert antelopes' coat color changes from dark grayish-brown in winter to white in the summer, an efficient method of maintaining body temperatures.
  4. Addax will dig depressions in the sand in which to rest. These are often located in the shade of boulders for protection from the wind and sun.
  5. Often considered the most-well adapted antelope to a desert environment, addax rarely need to drink since they are able to get most of the water they need from the plants they eat.
  6. Addax herds would typically consist of 5-20 individuals, led by one dominant male. Female herd members establish their own dominance hierarchy, with the oldest individuals achieving the highest rank. It should be noted that this group structure is not as standard anymore due to their near extinction in the wild. Most addax now travel in small clusters of only a few individuals.
  7. Addax are one of the most endangered mammals in the world. Current estimates show there to be less than 500 individuals left in the wild.

Ecology and Conservation

Addax are nearly extinct in the wild, having been eliminated from much of their original range. These antelope have been hunted for their valuable meat and skin. They have also been destroyed by farmers and cattlemen, so as not to compete with their cattle for grazing land. Much of the addax population was decimated during the World Wars. Probably the only reason they are still alive in the wild at all is the fact that they can live in uninhabitable places with extreme heat, extensive sand dunes, and other harsh conditions where it is extremely difficult for humans to reach. Since they are so heavily built they are not capable of great speeds and are easily overtaken by horses, dogs, and, of course, vehicles. Antelope are important to habitats as grazers and browsers. They are also important as prey for carnivores. Addax reintroductions to a park in Tunisia have been successful as well as reintroductions to Niger. 

In a cooperative effort with other AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) institutions, Busch Gardens closely manages addax populations through a program called the Species Survival Plan (SSP), which works to improve the genetic diversity of managed animal populations. Busch Gardens currently has 30 SSP animals.


Parker, Sybil P. Grzimek's Encyclopedia: Mammals Vol. 5. New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing Company. 1990.

Nowak, Ronald M. Walker's Mammals of the World Fifth Ed. Vol. II. Baltimore, MD.: John Hopkins University Press. 1991.

Spinage, C.A. The Natural History of Antelope. New York: Facts on File Publications. 1986.

American Zoo and Aquarium Association.

University of Michigan.