1969, the New Mexico State Department of Game and Fish decided to introduce Gemsbok
to the Tularosa Basin in the United States. The introduction was a compromise
between those who wanted to preserve nature and those who wanted to use it for
profit and promotion. Ninety-three were released from 1969 to 1977, with the
current population estimated at around 3,000 specimens. They thrived because
their natural predators, including the lion, were absent.
is the largest species in the Oryx genus. They stand about 3.9 ft at the
shoulder. The body length can vary from 75 to 94 inches, and the tail measures
18 to 35 inches. Male gemsbok can weigh between 400 and 530 lb., while females
weigh 100–220–460 lb.
are widely hunted for their spectacular horns that average 85 cm (33 in) in
length. From a distance, the only outward difference between males and females
is their horns, and many hunters mistake females for males each year. In males,
horns tend to be thicker with larger bases. Females have slightly longer,
is light brownish-grey to tan in color, with lighter patches toward the bottom
rear of the rump. Their tails are long and black. A blackish stripe
extends from the chin down the lower edge of the neck, through the juncture of
the shoulder and leg along each side's lower flank, to the rear portion's blackish section. They have muscular necks and shoulders, and their legs
have white ‘socks’ with a black patch on the front of both the front legs and
both genders have long, straight horns. Comparably, the East African oryx lacks
a dark patch at the base of the tail, has less black on the legs (none on the
hindlegs), and less black on the lower flanks. One rare condition is the “Golden Oryx,” in which the gemsbok’s black markings are muted and appear
gemsbok use their horns to defend themselves and their offspring from
predators, while males primarily use their horns to protect their territories
from other males.
is one of the few antelope species where female trophies are sometimes more
desirable than male ones. Some authorities say a gemsbok horn can be
fashioned into a natural trumpet and used as a shofar.
live in herds of about 10–40 animals, which consist of a dominant male, a few
nondominant males, and females. They are mainly desert-dwelling and do not
depend on drinking water to supply their physiological needs. They can reach
running speeds of up to 37 mph.