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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Arabian oryx reintroduction in Oman: successes and setbacks

Published source details

Spalton J.A., Lawerence M.W. & Brend S.A. (1999) Arabian oryx reintroduction in Oman: successes and setbacks. Oryx, 33, 168-175


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Provide supplementary water to increase reproduction/survival Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A study in 1982–1999 of a large desert area in Oman (Spalton et al. 1999) found that a population of released captive-bred Arabian oryx Oryx leucoryx initially provided with supplementary water and food increased over 14 years, but then declined due to poaching. Oryx numbers in the wild peaked at >400 animals, 1–14 years after the release of 40 animals. Poachers (capturing live animals, especially females, for international trade) then removed at least 200 oryx over the next three years. Animals were taken back into captivity to re-establish a captive breeding program. Seventeen years after releases began, the captive population was 40, and approximately 104 remained in the wild, with a high male:female sex ratio. Arabian oryx became extinct in Oman in 1972. Founders for the initial captive herd were sourced from international collections. Forty individually marked oryx were released in 1982–1995. A sample of wild-born animals was individually marked to retain the marked proportion at 20–30%. The original released herd was provided with water and food for seven months after release. Population estimates were derived from sightings using mark-recapture analysis.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)

Provide supplementary food during/after release of captive-bred mammals Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A study in 1982–1996 of a large desert area in Oman (Spalton et al. 1999) found that a reintroduced captive-bred Arabian oryx Oryx leucoryx population initially provided with supplementary food and water grew in number over 14 years, but then declined, due to poaching. Oryx numbers in the wild peaked at >400 animals, 1–14 years after release of 40 animals. Poachers (capturing live animals, especially females, for international trade) then removed at least 200 oryx over the next three years. Animals were taken back into captivity to re-establish a captive breeding program. Seventeen years after releases began, the captive population was 40, and approximately 104 remained in the wild, with a high male:female sex ratio. Arabian oryx became extinct in Oman in 1972. Founders for the initial captive herd were sourced from international collections. Forty individually marked oryx were released in 1982–1995. A sample of wild-born animals was individually marked to retain the marked proportion at 20–30%. The original released herd was provided with food and water for seven months after release. Population estimates were derived from sightings using mark-recapture analysis.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)