Archive for hunting

US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) ruling to decimate 3 endangered species!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on January 18, 2012 by The Center Shot

January 5th, 2012, Washington, DC – Under pressure from animal rights activists, anti-hunting groups and environmentlists the US Fish & Wildlife Service announced a ruling (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-01-05/pdf/2012-23.pdf) that will decimate the the US populations of 3 endangered antelope species from north Africa- the scimitar-horned oryx, the dama gazelle and the addax . The ruling will remove an exemption from the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Since 2005 USFWS had exempted these 3 species from certain requirements of the Endangered Species Act (1973) and allowed US captive-bred animals of these species to be sport-hunted. As a result of the 2005 exemption, the numbers of these 3 species, particularly the scimitar-horned oryx, have exploded in the US.

Ranchers, hunters and hunting-based conservation groups, like the Exotic Wildlife Association (EWA) and Safari Club International (SCI) recognized the symbiotic relationship between conservation and hunting. As a result, ranchers began stocking and breeding these species and funded it through hunting. The interest in hunting these species spurred an ever-increasing number of landowners (particularly in Texas) to join in the effort to breed these marvelous animals, with resounding success. In fact, the vast majority of the world’s remaining members of these species are located on and have been bred by these hunting ranches.

The new ruling, which will prevent these ranches from deciding on which animals to remove from their herd, will require a difficult permitting system for each animal they want to harvest. This difficult, complicated and fickle permitting system already exists for the endangered barasingha deer and is the reason that most hunting ranches won’t stock or breed the barasingha. Consequently the barasingha hasn’t seen a significant increase in its US held population, like the Oryx has. In reaction to this new ruling, ranchers that stock scimitar-horned oryx, addax and dama gazelle are scrambling to drastically reduce or, in many cases, eliminate, the numbers of these species on their properties before the ruling takes effect April 5, 2012.

The problem is, these large animals compete with native wildlife and traditional livestock. If ranchers don’t have the freedom to cull their numbers to maintain a healthy balance on their properties, they are not willing to stock an animal that has the potential to devastate their wildlife, habitat and livestock. Additionally, the new rules remove much of the financial incentive to breed and stock these antelope. Because exotic species ranchers have witnessed the difficulties of obtaining the federal permits to harvest, or “cull,” excess animals with species like the barasingha deer, they recognize that this will be the case, after April 4, with the Oryx, addax and dama gazelle. It’s with a heavy heart and no small amount of consternation or reluctance that these ranchers are already eliminating animals that they wish they could keep.

The most unfortunate thing about this new ruling is that it was made under the guise of “protecting” these majestic and endangered species and that the ACTUAL result is going to be the near extinction of these very species. Once it is done, a reversal of the ruling will serve no purpose as the animals, the only really viable herds on the planet, will already have been destroyed. Everyone involved in exotic species ranching and game conservation is at a loss to understand the wisdom behind a ruling with such devastating consequences.

Clearly, politics reign supreme and there’s no common sense at the USFWS.