Wednesday, January 14, 2015


The addax, an antelope of the Sahara Desert, is also known as the screwhorn antelope or white antelope. The name "screwhorn" comes from its long twisted, spiraling horns (two to three twists - in both sexes) and the name "white" comes from its summer coat which is almost completely white, or at least sandy blonde. In the winter its coat is grayish brown with white hindquarters and legs and brown hair on its head, neck and shoulders. The head has brown or black patches arranged to form a white "X" over the upper nose. Long black hairs stick out between the horns and continue on to form a short mane on the neck. The addax is adapted to live in the desert and can survive without water because it gets moisture from the plants it eats. 
Addax at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose, Texas.
The addax used to be widespread in the countries of the Sahara Desert, but it was easy to hunt because it is slow moving.  It has also been displaced as civilization concentrates around the waterholes that provided dry-season feeding places. It is now critically endangered and only about 300 still exist in the wild, mostly in Niger, but with sightings in Chad. It is now extinct in Algeria, Egypt, Libya and Sudan, but has been reintroduced in Morocco and Tunisia. It is estimated that there are over 600 addax in European zoos and preserves and over 1,000 in ranches in the U.S. and the Middle East. 
We recently visited Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose, Texas, a 1,700 acre preserve about 55 miles southwest of Fort Worth. Fossil Rim is a Conservation Center for Species Survival, one of a group of conservation centers, including the San Diego Zoo, that manage land for the survival of threatened species. Addax are one of the species that they keep and they supplied some addax for reintroduction in the wild in Tunisia in 2007. The Fossil Rim website indicates more addax have been born there than currently exist in the wild today. 

We drove into Fossil Rim in a rental car with a bag of food and were able to drive along and stop, at our own discretion, to view the animals. We encountered quite a few addax and hand-fed several through our open car windows. One even lowered its head and butted the side of the car. What a thrill. Fossil Rim was the highlight for me of our recent trip to Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, and seeing the addax was one of the highlights of the visit to Fossil Rim. 
It was a thrill to feed the addax by hand through the open car window. 


  1. Even more of a thrill when an animal buts the side of your RENTAL car. I love those curly horns.

  2. Yeah, I was a little worried about body damage to the car, but they were gentle bumps. I love the long, long horns and how they use them to scratch their own backs. Very cool animals.