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Thu., Feb. 2, 2012, 7:02 a.m.

Anti-hunters would love species to death

scimitar-horned oryx (Courtesy photo)
scimitar-horned oryx (Courtesy photo)

ENDANGERED SPECIES -- On Sunday, the CBS news program 60 Minutes highlighted the killer instinct within animal rights/anti-hunting organizations.

Friends of Animals President Priscilla Feral was allowed to explain how she's worked to help enact rules requiring a federal permit to hunt the endangered scimitar-horned oryx in the United States.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service posted an explanation of the new rule  -- including a list of myths and explanation of the new red tape the rule requires -- after the 60 Minutes report aired.

At face value, this appears to be a noble cause to Feral's financial supporters. After all, why would anyone want to hunt an endangered antelope species that's on the brink of extinction?

In the 60 Minutes segment, reporter Lara Logan asks that question repeatedly to the Texas game ranchers who have used high-fence ranches and hunting to help save three antelope species that have essentially gone extinct in Africa.

"If the species is endangered, why do you hunt them?" she asked.

The answer:  We hunt a few for the survival of the species.

The ranchers clearly explained they have imported antelopes such as the beautiful scimitar-horned oryx to huge fenced preserves where the species has been nourished and allowed to prosper and maintain a gene pool for reintroductions into their native Africa.

Meantime, in order to pay for maintaining these herds in Texas, sportsmen pay a hefty fee to hunt and harvest a few of the oryx that have lived well into maturity and spread their genetics to numerous offspring.

Without hunting to pay the bills, U.S. game ranchers won't be able to afford to maintain oryx herds.

Simple as that, the species could go poof.  

Pricilla Feral said she'd rather see extinction that hunting.

That's sick.  But it's a well-funded position.

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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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