The Scimitar-horned oryx is just over a meter at the shoulder and weighs around two hundred kilograms. Its coat is white with a red-brown chest and black markings on the forehead and down the length of the nose. The horns are long, thin and parallel, and curve backwards (like a scimitar), and can reach a meter to a meter and a quarter on both sexes, male and female.
Scimitar oryx natively inhabit steppe and desert ,where they eat leaves, grass, and fruit. They form herds of mixed sex containing up to 70 animals. Formerly they would gather in groups of several thousand for migration. Scimitar oryx can survive without water for many weeks because their kidneys prevent loss of water from urination, and they can modify their body temperature to avoid perspiration.
Scimitar oryx were hunted for their horns, almost to extinction. Where once they occupied the whole Sahara, they are now considered to be extinct in the wild.
A global captive breeding program was initiated in the 1960s. In 1996, there were at least 1,250 captive animals held in zoos and parks around the world with 2,145 on ranches in Texas. A herd exists in a fenced nature preserve in Tunisia, and is being expanded with plans for reintroduction to the wild in that country.