The critically endangered dama gazelle, also called the mhorr or addra gazelle, is the largest of the gazelles and one of the rarest. It's estimated that fewer than 400 individuals remain in the wild, primarily in Chad and Sudan.

Physical Description

The dama gazelle, also called the mhorr or addra gazelle, is the largest of the gazelles and was once common and widespread in arid and semi-arid regions of the Sahara. There are currently three recognized subspecies of Nanger Dama: N. dama ruficollis, N. dama dama, and N. dama mhorr. The Smithsonian's National Zoo exhibits N. dama ruficollis.

Nanger dama ruficollis, is the lightest in coloration and the most eastern subspecies of the three. Common names for this subspecies include Addra Gazelle, Kordofan Gazelle, and Nubian Red-necked Gazelle.

The upper part of their body is mostly reddish brown, whereas the head, rump and under parts are white.

Both males and females have horns. They curve back and up, but reach a length of only about 17 inches (43 centimeters) long. The male's horns have 18 to 23 distinct rings and smooth tips while the females are typically smaller, thinner and the rings less distinct.


Dama gazelle stand about 39 inches (99 centimeters) tall at the shoulder and weigh around 88 to 190 pounds (40 to 86 kilograms).

Native Habitat

The dama gazelle's historical range included the desert and arid zones of Chad (eastern), and the Darfur and Kordofan Provinces of Sudan. Due to wars in their range, habitat destruction, desertification, overhunting, and human and livestock population expansion, they are now extremely rare, occurring only as vagrants or in pockets

Food/Eating Habits

Dama gazelles obtain most of their water from the plants they consume. Their diet includes various desert shrubs and acacias, along with rough desert grasses.

At the Zoo, they eat orchard grass hay and alfalfa hay — about a flake each per day. In addition they eat roughly 2.5 pounds of herbivore pellet per day, with leaf eater biscuits and browse as treats.

Conservation Efforts

Dama gazelles are critically endangered, which means they face a very high risk of extinction in the wild. The wild population has dropped precipitously in the past 20 years, with a scant 400 estimated to remain in the wild.

Zoo scientists are working with dama gazelles both at the Zoo and in the field.

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