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, name for several small, horselike antelopes, genus Oryx, found in deserts and arid scrublands of Africa and Arabia. They feed on grasses and scrub and can go without water for long periods. Oryxes are light in color with dark patches on the face and legs.
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(Oryx gazella beisa), an artiodactylic mammal, an East African subspecies of the oryx antelope. Both the males and females have long straight horns (to 1 m) that point backward. The basic body color is light reddish-brown, with black stripes on the head, sides, and extremities. Beisa inhabit the wide open plains of East Africa (to 20° N lat.). They are usually seen in pairs, occasionally in small herds. The period of gestation is about nine months. Beisa are hunted for their meat and hide; they are also an object of sport hunting. The number of beisa in many parts of their habitat has been sharply cut. Portrayals of beisa on ancient Egyptian monuments suggest that they (or perhaps another subspecies of the oryx, the saber horn antelope) were raised earlier in captivity or were tamed.