Critically endangered addax born at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo

Jim Schulz/CZS-Brookfield Zoo/Cover Images

A male addax calf was born at Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, Illinois on 2 July 2022.

The birth of this African antelope is a welcome addition as the species is critically endangered and on the brink of extinction in the wild, with an estimated population of possibly less than 100 individuals.

For the next few weeks, the calf, born to five-year-old Simone and sired by eight-year-old Ishnala, will spend a majority of his time in a nesting area, which is behind the scenes.

However, he has begun to venture outdoors where guests can see him in one of the 31st Street habitats on the northwest side of the zoo.

The pairing of Simone and Ishnala was based on a recommendation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Addax Species Survival Plan (SSP). An SSP is a cooperative population management and conservation program for select species in accredited North American zoos and aquariums.

The addax is a true desert-adapted antelope - the only one of its genus (species group) - that once was found in large numbers across vast areas of the Sahara Desert. However, predominantly due to illegal hunting for its meat, horns, and hide, as well as oil exploration and production, the species may not be around for future generations.

Currently, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), the only known remaining population thought to be viable is in the Termit and Tin Toumma region of Niger.