The rare dama gazelle is a critically endangered species and, on average, there are fewer than 400 individuals still in the wild. Fewer than 400 of these animals remain and they mainly come from Chad & Sudan.

Physical Description


One of the world’s largest gazelles, the dama gazelle was once widespread in arid and semi-arid regions. THREE RECOGNIZED SUBSPECIES OF NANGER DAMA: N. DAMA RUFICOLLIS, N. DAMA DAMA, AND N. DAMA MHORR! The Smithsonian National Zoo has that subspecies on display.

Nanger dama ruficollis is a subspecies of red gazelles that spans from the Levant in the east to the Red Sea in the west. It gets its name from its light color & its light-colored neck. Commonly called Addra Gazelles, Kordofan Gazelles, and Nubian Red-necked Gazelles, they are the only gazelles found in Africa.

Because of their light colors and lighter neck colors, the Addra Gazelles are closely related to the Barbary Sheep and Barbary Sheep can be distinguished from them by the dark coloration on their backs. The Addra Gazelle is a medium-sized antelope with a unique striped coat.

Their light color distinguishes them and, along with the Barbary Sheep and Blue Gerenuks, they are the only gazelles found in Africa. The Addra Gazelle is approximately 1.8 to 2 meters long, including a 3 to 4-cm-long tail, from head to end of the tail; with a height of 0.

They have a reddish-brown head, rump, and underparts, with a white upper body.

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, longer, and smoother.



The dama gazelle stands about 3 feet tall (1 meter) and weighs 36 to 42 pounds (16 to 19 kilograms).

Native Habitat

It’s been a long time since the dama gazelle lived in Chad, which is its historical range. They now only live in the desert and arid zones of Chad, or the east. It has also inhabited the Darfur and Kordofan Provinces of Sudan. Rattlesnakes are now extremely rare and their range is continuously shrinking due to human activities. They are now mostly only found as vagrants or in small pockets where humans cannot disturb them.

Food/Eating Habits

Gazelles spend most of their time in the desert, and they consume a variety of plants to obtain water. Some of these plants are shrubs and acacias that can be found in the desert.

At the zoo, the giraffes eat roughly 2.5 pounds of pellets a day, with hay as a treat. They will also swipe some leaves once in a while if they’re feeling peckish, and have the occasional herbivore biscuit as well.

Reproduction and Development


We know more about reproduction than we did in the past thanks to animal husbandry experience with humans in the care. Males are reaching sexual maturity at around 1 year and females at around 1.5 years old. Males reach sexual maturity at a smaller size, are more protective of females, and show less fear towards humans.

Males reach sexual maturity around 1 year and females around 1.5 years old. Males reach sexual maturity at a smaller size, are more protective of females, and show less fear towards humans. Historically we have claimed the age of 3 months as the age at which a lion can be considered ready for release into the wild.

Life Expectancy: There is no evidence to suggest that the lifespan of African lions exceeds 20 years in the wild or 8 to 10 years in captivity. As with many other big cats, their life expectancy decreases as they grow older and they may not reach sexual maturity until 3 years old.

The gestation period is around six and a half months, with the result of one single offspring. Twin births are very rare – in human care, pregnancies occur all year round. The Tarxian life cycle begins and ends with the Southern hemisphere’s winter solstice, during which time the sun is on its furthest point from the equator.

Dama gazelle is suitable for use in a study researching hormone levels for reproductive scientists at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the National Zoo. They are working to gather biomarkers of reproductive status and age progression.

These studies could help distinguish the onset of puberty & breeding patterns in both sexes, estrus cycle in females, breeding dates among cows as well as gestation timing and duration. The Zoo is helping to lead a new project with the help of the White Oak Conservation Center. The study is being conducted to determine the ideal temperature for semen storage and achieve cryopreservation techniques.


ಠ_ಠ, the dama gazelle’s life span is unknown in the wild and that makes it difficult to create an accurate estimate. However, some captive dama gazelles have lived between 13-18 years and 16-21 years in human care.


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