[Federal Register: July 24, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 142)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 43706-43707]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[[Page 43706]]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AI82

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Endangered Status 
for Scimitar-Horned Oryx, Addax, and Dama Gazelle

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; reopening of comment period.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
re-opening of the comment period on the proposed listing of three 
species of antelope: scimitar-horned oryx (Oryx dammah), addax (Addax 
nasomaculatus), and dama gazelle (Gazella dama), as endangered under 
the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973, as amended. We are re-opening 
the comment period to request additional information and comments from 
the public regarding the proposed rule. The original proposed rule was 
published on November 5, 1991 (56 FR 56491). Comments previously 
submitted need not be resubmitted because they will be incorporated 
into the public record as part of this comment period and will be fully 
considered in the final determination.

DATES: We will accept public comments until October 22, 2003.

ADDRESSES: Submit any comments, information, and questions by mail to 
the Chief, Division of Scientific Authority, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Room 750, Arlington, VA 22203; or by 
fax to 703-358-2276; or by e-mail to ScientificAuthority@fws.gov. 
Comments and supporting information will be available for public 
inspection, by appointment, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the above address. 
You may also obtain copies of the November 5, 1991, proposed rule from 
the above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Eleanora Babij at the above address, 
or by phone, 703-358-1708; fax, 703-358-2276; or e-mail, 


    The scimitar-horned oryx (Oryx dammah), addax (Addax 
nasomaculatus), and dama gazelle (Gazella dama) originally occupied the 
same general region of North Africa. The reasons for the decline of all 
three antelope species are similar. Desertification, coupled with 
severe droughts, has dramatically reduced available habitat. The growth 
of permanent farming has brought additional pressures, such as human 
habitat disturbance and competition from domestic livestock, which have 
restricted these antelopes to marginal habitat. Additional pressures 
from the civil wars in Chad and the Sudan have resulted in increased 
military activity, construction, and uncontrolled hunting.
    The range of the scimitar-horned oryx in North Africa once covered 
semi-deserts and steppes north of the Sahara, from Morocco to Egypt. 
Over-hunting and habitat loss have been the main reasons for the 
decline of the wild population of this antelope according to the World 
Conservation Union (IUCN 2002). Competition with domestic livestock has 
also contributed to the species' decline. During the 1970s and 1980s, 
the scimitar-horned oryx was first classified as vulnerable and then as 
endangered by the IUCN. In 1975, the scimitar-horned oryx was listed in 
Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered 
Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
    The addax once occurred throughout the deserts and sub-deserts of 
North Africa, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Nile River. Motorized 
illegal hunting following World War II has been noted as the primary 
reason for decline of the addax (Antelope Taxon Advisory Group 2002), 
and hunting continues to threaten this species (IUCN 2002). Habitat 
degradation as a result of overgrazing by domestic livestock has also 
played an important role in the decline of the addax. Similar to the 
scimitar-horned oryx, during the 1970s and 1980s, the addax was first 
classified as vulnerable and then as endangered by the IUCN. In 1975, 
the addax was also listed in Appendix II of CITES.
    The dama gazelle, the largest of the gazelles, was once common and 
widespread in arid and semi-arid regions of the Sahara. It has suffered 
greatly from uncontrolled hunting and overgrazing by domestic livestock 
(Mallon and Kingwood 2001). Habitat destruction and hunting are still 
the most serious threats facing dama gazelles today (Antelope Taxon 
Advisory Group 2002; IUCN 2002). Two subspecies of the dama gazelle, 
Gazella dama lozanoi and Gazella dama mhorr, were designated as 
endangered, and then the entire species of G. dama was designated by 
the IUCN as vulnerable and then endangered. In 1983, these two 
subspecies and G. dama were listed in CITES Appendix I. Two subspecies 
of dama gazelle, G. d. lozanoi and G. d. mhorr, have been listed as 
endangered under the ESA since 1970. A third subspecies, G. d. 
ruficollis was not included in this original listing. However, there is 
currently a taxonomic debate over the validity of G. d. lozanoi as a 
    Of the three antelope species, the scimitar-horned oryx was the 
most susceptible to the threats it faced. By the mid-1980s, it was 
estimated that only a few hundred were left in the wild, with the only 
viable populations known to be in Chad. There have been no reported 
sightings of this species in the wild since the late 1980s, and the 
2002 Red List status of the scimitar-horned oryx is ``extinct in the 
wild'' (IUCN 2002). However, this antelope has been reintroduced into 
Tunisia, and once the reintroduced population breeds, especially to the 
second generation, it is anticipated that the status of ``extinct in 
the wild'' will change.
    The addax is better able to utilize waterless areas in the heart of 
the Sahara Desert and is less susceptible to human disturbance and 
livestock competition. It is believed that the addax was extirpated 
from Tunisia during the 1930s, and the last animals were killed in 
Libya and Algeria in 1966 and 1970, respectively. Remnant populations 
may still exist in the remote desert areas of Chad, Niger, and Mali, 
and occasionally move north into Libya and Algeria during times of good 
rainfall. In the Antelope Specialist Group's Global Survey of 
Antelopes, the addax is considered to be ``regionally extinct'' (Mallon 
and Kingwood 2001). Addax are listed as critically endangered in the 
2002 Red List and probably number fewer than 250 in the wild.
    The dama gazelle is able to utilize both semi-desert and desert 
habitats, and is smaller than either the oryx or addax. Although the 
dama gazelle is the least susceptible of these three antelopes to 
pressures from humans and domestic livestock, it is estimated that only 
small numbers survive in most of the eight countries within its 
historical range. It was previously extinct in Senegal, but has since 
been reintroduced, and in 1997, at least 25 animals existed there as 
part of a semi-captive breeding program (IUCN 2002). The IUCN lists all 
forms of dama gazelles as endangered. The dama gazelle has declined 
rapidly over the last 20 years, and recent estimates show numbers fewer 
than 2,500 and declining (Mallon and Kingwood 2001). G. d. mhorr may be 
extinct in the wild and only found in captive collections or 

[[Page 43707]]

populations (Antelope Taxon Advisory Group 2002; IUCN 2002).

Public Comments Solicited

    We will accept written comments and information during this re-
opened comment period from the public, other concerned governmental 
agencies, the scientific community, industry, or any other interested 
party. Comments particularly are sought concerning;
    (1) Biological, commercial trade, or other relevant data concerning 
any threat (or lack thereof) to the scimitar-horned oryx, addax, and 
dama gazelle;
    (2) Additional information concerning the range, distribution, and 
population size of the scimitar-horned oryx, addax, and dama gazelle;
    (3) Current planned activities in the species' range and their 
possible impacts on the scimitar-horned oryx, addax, and dama gazelle;
    (4) Information on the validity of G. d. lozanoi as a subspecies;
    (5) Alternatives to the treatment of captive populations of 
scimitar-horned oryx, addax, and dama gazelle; and
    (6) Information on the genetic integrity of captive populations of 
scimitar-horned oryx, addax, and dama gazelle, and particularly whether 
any captive populations are likely to have been hybridized.
    Our practice is to make comments, including names and home 
addresses of respondents, available for public review during regular 
business hours. Any person commenting may request that we withhold 
their home address, which we will honor to the extent allowable by law. 
In some circumstances, we may also withhold a commenter's identity, as 
allowable by law. If you wish us to withhold your name or address, you 
must state this request prominently at the beginning of your comment. 
However, we will not consider anonymous comments. To the extent 
consistent with applicable law, we will make all submissions from 
organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying 
themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or 
businesses, available for public inspection in their entirety. Comments 
and materials received will be available for public inspection, by 
appointment, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Division of Scientific 
Authority (see ADDRESSES section).

References Cited

Antelope Taxon Advisory Group. 2002. Addax Fact Sheet. American Zoo 
and Aquarium Association. Downloaded from http://www.csew.com/antelopetag
Antelope Taxon Advisory Group. 2002. Addra or Dama Gazelle Fact 
Sheet. American Zoo and Aquarium Association. Downloaded from http://www.csew.com/antelopetag
Antelope Taxon Advisory Group. 2002. Scimitar-Horned Oryx Fact 
Sheet. American Zoo and Aquarium Association. Downloaded from http://www.csew.com/antelopetag
International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural 
Resources. 2002. 2002 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 
Downloaded from http://www.iucn.org.
Mallon, D.P., and S.C. Kingwood (Compilers). 2001. Antelopes. Part 
4: North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Global Survey and 
Regional Action Plans. SSC Antelope Specialist Group. IUCN, Gland, 
Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. Viii + 260 pp.
Metzler, S. 2000. Addra Gazelle North American Regional Studbook 
1999 Update. Disney's Animal Kingdom.


    The primary author of this notice is Eleanora Babij, Division of 
Scientific Authority, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (see ADDRESSES 

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1361-1407; 16 U.S.C. 1531-1544; 16 U.S.C. 
4201-4245; Pub. L. 99-625, 100 Stat. 3500; unless otherwise noted.

    Dated: July 16, 2003.
Matt Hogan,
Acting Director, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 03-18841 Filed 7-23-03; 8:45 am]