Once found across northern Africa, on both sides of the Sahara (7), from the west to the east. Addax populations exist today in a mere fragment of the former range in Niger, Chad, and possibly along the border between Mali and Mauritania (8) (9).
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In a study, eight addax antelopes on a diet of grass hay (Chloris gayana) were studied to determine the retention time of food from the digestive tract. It was found that food retention time was long, taken as an adaptation to a diet including a high proportion of slow fermenting grasses; while the long fluid retention time could be interpreted to be due to water-saving mechanisms with low water turnover and a roomy rumen.
Addax fossils have been found in four sites of Egypt - a 7000 BCE fossil from the Great Sand Sea, a 5000–6000 BCE fossil from Djara, a 4000–7000 BCE fossil from Abu Ballas Stufenmland and a 5000 BCE fossil from Gilf Kebir. Apart from these, fossils have also been excavated from Mittleres Wadi Howar (6300 BCE fossil), and Pleistocene fossils from Grotte Neandertaliens, Jebel Irhoud and Parc d'Hydra.
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Decrease in the population of the addax has begun notably since the mid-1800s. More recently, addax were found from Algeria to Sudan, but due mainly to overhunting, they have become much more restricted and rare.
Females are sexually mature at two to three years of age and males at about two years. Breeding occurs throughout the year, but it peaks during winter and early spring. In the northern Sahara, breeding peaks at the end of winter and beginning of spring; in the southern Sahara, breeding peaks from September to October and from January to mid-April. Each estrus bout lasts for one or two days.
Gestation period lasts 257–270 days (about 9 months). Females may lie or stand during the delivery, during which one calf is born. A postpartum estrus occurs after two or three days. The calf weighs 5 kg (11 lb) at birth and is weaned at 23–29 weeks old.
The addax is a critically endangered species of antelope, as classified by the IUCN. Although extremely rare in its native habitat due to unregulated hunting, it is quite common in captivity. The addax was once abundant in North Africa, native to Chad, Mauritania and Niger. It is extinct in Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Sudan and Western Sahara. It has been reintroduced in Morocco and Tunisia.
Addax are subject to uncontrolled hunting for their meat, horns and hide; and levels of poaching have increased by both the armed forces and the local community (SCF 2015b).
The Addax is classified as Critically Endangered (CR) on the IUCN Red List 2007 (1). Listed on Appendix I of CITES (3) and Appendix I of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS or Bonn Convention) (4).
Due to its slow movements, the addax is an easy target for predators such as lions, humans, African hunting dogs, cheetahs and leopards. Caracals, hyenas and servals attack calves. The addax are normally not aggressive, though individuals may charge if they are disturbed.
The addax are most prone to parasites in moist climatic conditions. Addax have always been infected with nematodes in the Trichostrongyloidea and Strongyloidea families. In an exotic ranch in Texas, an addax was found host to the nematodes Haemonchus contortus and Longistrongylus curvispiculum in its abomasum, out of which the former was more dominant.
Addax feed on desert grasses, but will also browse on herbs and acacia species if grass is unavailable (8). Addax are able to obtain all the water they need from their food and their range is therefore not generally restricted by available water sources (5).
Authenticated (18/05/2006) by John Newby, Director of the Sahara Conservation Fund (SCF). http://www.saharaconservation.org