News Release
Contact: Sondra Katzen, Public Relations, 708.688.8351,
July 19, 2022
Note: To download photos of the addax calf, scroll down to end of press release.

Addax—a Critically Endangered Antelope—Born at Brookfield Zoo

Brookfield, Ill.—The Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo, is happy to announce the birth of a male addax on July 2. The birth of this African antelope is a welcomed 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 5-year-old Simone and sired by 8-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. Each plan manages the breeding of a species to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable.

The Chicago Zoological Society has been an active participant in the Addax SSP since its inception in 1989. Currently, there are 163 addax in 22 accredited North American institutions. Brookfield Zoo has exhibited addax since 1935, and in 1941 was the first zoo in North America to have an addax birth.

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/Tin Toumma region of Niger. There is hope for the species due to international collaborative efforts. Several dozen organizations worldwide, including the Chicago Zoological Society, have provided support for the reintroduction of zoo-born addax into protected reserves.

One of the most impressive features of the addax are its horns, which in older individuals, can spiral almost three turns and extend nearly three feet. Addax are one of a group of species called “horse-like antelope,” which are unusual in that the females have horns as long as those of the males. The calves are born with “horn buds” that begin to grow into horns after the first few weeks. Addax have wide hooves that are extra-large and spread out, perfect for staying on top of loose sand. Their legs are shorter than those of most antelope, giving them a low center of gravity and keeping them steady—even when the sand shifts under foot. They get nearly all the moisture they need from the sap of vegetation and from dew, going almost their entire lives without drinking water at all. When vegetation is not available, they live off the water stored in their body.

Those interested in helping care for the addax at Brookfield Zoo can contribute to the Animal Adoption program. For $35, a recipient receives the Basic Package, which includes a 5-inch x 7-inch color photograph of an addax, a personalized certificate of adoption, an addax fact sheet, an Animal Adoption program decal, and an invitation to the exclusive Animal Adoption summer event. To purchase, visit

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Photo Captions (credit Jim Schulz/CZS-Brookfield Zoo)
4168 and 4097: A male addax (an African antelope), born at Brookfield Zoo on July 2, can be seen in his outdoor habitat. The species is critically endangered in with estimates to be less than 100 individuals in the wild.
4220 and 4127: A male addax calf, born at Brookfield Zoo on July 2, can be seen with his mother Simone. The African antelope is critically endangered due to illegal hunting for its meat, horns, and hide, as well as oil exploration and production, among other threats.

About the Chicago Zoological Society
The mission of the Chicago Zoological Society is to inspire conservation leadership by engaging people and communities with wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The Society is known throughout the world for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation. Its Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare is at the forefront of animal care that strives to discover and implement innovative approaches to zoo animal management. Brookfield Zoo is the first zoo in the world to be awarded the Humane Certified™ certification mark for the care and welfare of its animals, meeting American Humane Association’s rigorous certification standards. The zoo is located at 8400 31st Street in Brookfield, Illinois, between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and also is accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, and CTA and PACE bus service. For further information, visit


Sondra Katzen
Media Relations Manager
Office: 708-688-8351
Cell Phone: 708-903-2071


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