Unicorns? Not quite.
Meet the Arabian Oryx babies

September 06, 2020

Unicorns? Not quite. <br>Meet the Arabian Oryx babies
Hope Hull, AL — January 31, 2019 — The newly opened 350-acre Alabama Safari Park has an exciting new 2019 addition…baby unicorns! Well, not exactly. The rare new babies are an antelope species called Arabian oryx. The legend of the single horned creature known as a unicorn is a myth believed to be based on the Oryx species. Travelers saw these impressive antelope from the side and it appeared as if the Oryx had one horn rather than two.

Although the Oryx may not be the mystical unicorn of legend, they are extremely special. Considered one of the rarest species on Earth, the Arabian Oryx was previously hunted to total extinction in the wild. Thanks to the 1960s “Operation Oryx”, captive bred populations were able to save this beautiful species. By the 1980s, captive populations were numerous enough to reintroduce them into the wild. For many years the species has thrived in Saudi Arabia, Oman and Israel. Unfortunately, current Arabian Oryx populations are back in decline and have been relisted on the IUCN Red List as vulnerable. This is the first time a species has been reclassified as vulnerable after it rebounded from being extinct in the wild. Pressures from habitat loss due to oil development and hunting in the Middle East continue to threaten the Oryx habitat and their future.

Fortunately, zoos and wildlife parks, like Alabama Safari Park are committed to saving this species through collaborative breeding programs. In fact, Alabama Safari Park contains the only Arabian Oryx herd found in the state. On top of maintaining the current captive breeding program, the park is dedicated to wildlife conservation through public education, habitat preservation, and providing financial aid and assistance to projects in the wild.

Arabian Oryx young Guests can enjoy the rare sight of Arabian Oryx and witness their comeback story as the new calves frolic in the pasture at Alabama Safari Park. The herd can be viewed daily in the first right pasture when driving into the Park’s entrance.

Alabama Safari Park is a 350 acre drive-thru adventure, with over 700 animals from around the world. The Park is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. everyday. Conveniently located just off I-65, exit 158, admission tickets are $15.95 for adults, $12.95 for children. Military, senior and group rate specials are available. Call (334) 288-2105, or visit www.alabamasafaripark.com for updates, hours, event and more.