Scimitar-horned Oryx, Monarto Zoo, South Australia
Our local zoo here in Murray Bridge South Australia is Monarto open range zoo, with most of the animals on display kept in large paddocks where they are free to wander. Visitors to the zoo are escorted through the various enclosures on shuttle buses which run every few minutes throughout the day. Excellent views of all the animals can be obtained through the large bus windows. This is accompanied by excellent commentary given by volunteer guides.
The zoo takes its logo from the animal featured here, the Scimitar-horned Oryx. This species once ranged over all of North Africa but has not been sighted in the wild for over 15 years and is now considered extinct in its natural environment. It is conservation programmes like this at Monarto (and other) zoos which is so valuable, and the main reason I enjoy supporting their work.
In their natural habitat of steppes and desert, these oryx would eat shrubs, leaves, grass and fruit. They would form large mixed herds and were able to withstand extreme heat by being able to regulate their body temperature and the retention of water. They could survive for weeks in the desert without drinking. Sadly they were hunted for their horns and this resulted in their extinction in the wild.