Over a million spiral horned antelopes – the Scimitar-horned oryx once galloped across vast areas of Northern Africa.
It was one of several other species of antelope which lived in the Sahara desert and nearby Sahelian grassland areas.
By the 1990s the oxyx had disappeared. It was extensively hunted, while at the same time its habitat dwindled.
Though they are fully protected, the same fate is looking likely for its close cousin, the Saharan Addax antelope.
In March 2016 conservationists performed extensive surveys to assess the status of this species. An aerial team covered over 3,300 km while a ground team scoured over 700 km of known Addax habitats. In 18 hours of flying none were spotted.
It was only after the ground team followed 10km of antelope track that they caught trail of one small group.
In a devastating discovery, they came across three lonely and nervous looking individuals. They may be the last remaining ones in the wild.
article: Melissa Hogenboom
photo: Sahara Conservation Fund