Two calves of critically endangered African antelope species debut at Kansas City Zoo

Adult addax in the Sahara desert.
Adult addax in the Sahara desert. Thomas Rabeil/Sahara Conservation Fund

Two calves of an African antelope species that may be extinct in its native habitat will go on exhibit Thursday at the Kansas City Zoo.

The species is called addax, and the births, on May 27 and on June 2, are a first for this zoo. The calves will be displayed in the African plains exhibit alongside other antelope species. Adult addax weigh 200-300 pounds, are light colored and are identifiable by their corkscrew horns.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature reported last year that a survey of addax habitat in Niger found just three “very nervous” individuals. The main reasons for their decline are poaching and disturbance from Chinese oil exploration, the union said.

By contrast, addax are available for trophy hunting in the United States. The Texas Hunt Lodge’s website says addax were imported from Africa to ranches in the Texas Hill Country in the 1970s and the population is thriving.

Matt Campbell: 816-234-4902, @MattCampbellKC