The national animal of Oman The endangered Arabian oryx (also known as the white oryx) is regarded as the national animal of Oman, even though the species actually became extinct in the wild during the 1970s.
The Arabian oryx (Oryx leucoryx) or white oryx is a medium-sized antelope with a distinct shoulder bump, long, straight horns, and a tufted tail. It is a bovid, and the smallest member of Oryx genus, native to desert and steppe areas of the Arabian Peninsula. The Arabian oryx was extinct in the wild by the early 1970s, but was saved in zoos and private preserves and reintroduced into the wild starting in 1980.
In 1986, the Arabian oryx was classified as endangered on the IUCN Red List, and in 2011 it was the first animal to revert to Vulnerable status after previously being listed as extinct in the wild. It is listed in CITES Appendix I. In 2011, populations were estimated at over 1,000 individuals in the wild, and 6,000–7,000 individuals in captivity worldwide.
A Qatari oryx named "Orry" was chosen as the official games mascot for the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, and is shown on tail-fins of planes belonging to Middle Eastern airline Qatar Airways.
The plateau has an unusual desert climate with thick coastal fog banks. The mean summer temperature can range from 15 degrees Celsius (°C) in January to 34°C in July. Mean annual rainfall is less than 50 millimeters (mm), and several consecutive rainless years can occur. However, the steep temperature gradient between the air over the cold coastal waters to the south and very high temperatures inland create a strong afternoon sea breeze between spring and autumn. As temperatures drop below 8°C, the moist air condenses into fog. If wind speeds also drop, this sinks to ground level and as dew sustains the vegetation and wildlife between the unpredictable rains. During the southwest monsoon, June to September, but also between October and April there can be heavy night and early morning mist and dewfall on the Jidda' far inland; with rain this can give two growing seasons. The prevailing summer winds aresoutherly.