View Full Version : Arabian oryx leaps back from near-extinction

06-16-2011, 11:43 PM
GENEVA (AFP) The Arabian oryx, a desert antelope that may have sparked the legend of the unicorn, has bounced back after being hunted almost to oblivion, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said on Thursday.

Native to the Arabian peninsula, Oryx leucoryx has two long slender horns that in profile look as one, which may have fuelled the myth of the unicorn, the IUCN said.

The last Arabian oryx in the wild was shot in 1972 but after a nearly 40-year effort in captive breeding, its population stands at 1,000 individuals, the IUCN said, trailing an update of its "Red List" of threatened species.

An oryx was successfully reintroduced to the wild in Oman in 1982 and other returns have taken place in Saudi Arabia, Israel, the United Arab Emirates and more recently in Jordan.