Antelopes Make Comeback from Extinction in Arava

YERUSHALAYIM -
Antelope Ranch, Yotvata Hai-Bar Nature Reserve, Israel. (Tamar Assaf)

A herd of Arabian oryxes sighted on Sunday morning in the Arava desert hails the return of the hoofed mammal from extinction and a triumph of Israeli conservationists.

Drone footage showed 16 of the rare antelopes strolling nonchalantly near the Tzichur Stream.

“This observation is very special because we saw a herd with three younglings, among them one that was born in the last two months,” Nature and Parks Authority (NPA) ecologist Dr. Tal Polak told Ynet. “You can see none of the herd’s members has any markings, meaning that the entire herd was most probably born in the wild.”

“This is a great success since most oryxes were released into the wild in the late 1990s and early 2000s, meaning we have at least two whole generations that were born in the wild.”

The animal is characterized by a snow-white coat, contrasting dark markings on its face and legs, and long, almost straight horns. It is native to the Middle East region but went extinct in Israel around the turn of the 20th century.