Addax Mom Seeing Double at Rolling Hills Zoo


Twin Addax calves were born July 5, at Rolling Hills Zoo, in Salina, Kansas. The twins, male and female, were born to mom, Aamira. 


3_559c6c7d338bf.imagePhoto Credits: Mason Swenson/ Salina Journal

This was Aamira’s first experience with a multiple birth. Peter Burvenich, the zoo’s General Curator, said twin births are extremely rare for the Addax, accounting for only 1 of every 2,500 births.

The Addax, also known as the “screwhorn antelope”, is native to the Sahara desert. As suggested by its name, it has long twisted horns, typically 22 to 31 inches (55 to 80 cm) in females and 28 to 33 inches (70 to 85 cm) in males.

They are sexually dimorphic, as the females are smaller than the males. The color of the coat depends on the season, greyish-brown in winter and sandy-white in summer.

They mainly eat grasses and leaves of any available shrub, herb or bush. They are also well adapted to desert habitat and can live without water for long periods of time.  The Addax form herds of five to 20 and are led by the oldest female of the group.

The Addax is classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is extremely rare in its native habitat, due to unregulated hunting.

Addax Calf Adds a Boost to Declining Species

A delicate and rare Addax calf was born in early February at Australia’s Taronga Western Plains Zoo.  Named Yasna, which translates to ‘white rose’ in an African language, this little female calf is the third born at the zoo in the last 12 months.  Yasna is an important addition to the captive Addax population because fewer than 500 of these antelope remain in Africa’s Sahara Desert region.

Yasna has spent her first few weeks of life in hiding, which is exactly what this species would do in the wild.  She is now becoming bolder and mingling with the zoo's herd.




Photo Credit:  Taronga Zoo

Addax are distinguished by their 30-inch-long (80 cm) spiral horns, which are present on both males and females.  To escape the extreme heat of the desert, Addax find bits of shade and dig into the sand where they rest until sundown.  These nocturnal antelope feed on grasses and the leaves of certain shrubs. 

Because Addax are slow-moving, they are easy targets for hunters who prize Addax meat and hides, which are made into leather goods.  With the state of the wild Addax population so precarious, zoo breeding programs are vital to preserving the genetic diversity of this rare species.

Antlered Beasts in Record Numbers!


Desert Antelopes, a highly threatened and beautiful group of animals, are a key part of Al Ain Wildlife Park & Resort’s (AWPR) conservation work. The year 2010 has seen a bumper harvest of young animals born in the zoo and a number of conservation research initiatives are moving ahead. 2010 marked one of AWPR’s best recorded year for Antelope births, with a record number of young Antelope raised, including 16 Scimitar-horned Oryx, 27 Arabian Oryx, ten Beisa Oryx, four Addax, three Chad Dama Gazelles, six Mhorr Dama Gazelles and six Speke’s Gazelles.

Addax-003 Addax babies huddle up behind Mom (above).


Mhorr-gazelle-003cropA baby Mhorr Gazelle pauses during a drink.

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Meal Time and Play Time for a Little Addax

The Addax is a critically endangered antelope native to the Western Sahara. With only an estimated 200-300 Addax left in the wild, every birth in captivity helps ensure the survival, and potential re-population, of this species. This little boy was born June 17th at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo. Lots of happy antelope tail-wagging in this video.

Definitely watch past the first minute to see some wobbly bounding.

Learn more about baby "Chad" at the Chicago Zoological Society's website.