To save rare animals, let people profit off them

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Dr. Grey Stafford, Director of Conservation at the World Wildlife Zoo in Phoenix, Arizona, e-mailed me that he is upset because “lawyers and extremists” use government to change the way he runs his zoo. He says that bad training and conservation methods are “imposed on us by some outside party whose agenda is not in the best interest of conservation, animals or zoos.”

I’m not surprised. Liberal activists always think central planners make life better. My reporting has taught me: No They Can’t!

While we’re talking conservation, consider the Scimitar Oryx. It used to roam most of Northern Africa. Today, the Oryx is extinct in the wild.

But not in Texas. In Texas, it thrives.

That’s because Texas allows people to keep endangered species as private property. Some Texas ranchers converted their cattle lands into exotic wildlife habitats. Individuals pay to see the animals, and some pay to hunt. It’s a billion dollar industry.


“Texas now has more than a quarter-million exotic species, of which three—the scimitar-horned oryx, the addax, and the Dama gazelle—have been brought back from the brink of extinction,” says Terry Anderson, of the Property and Environment Research Center.

The way to save rare animals is to let people profit off them. But that horrifies leftists.

One animal-rights group — Friends of Animals — sued to protect the Scimitar Oryx from hunters. They won. Now, government requires a special permit to hunt, or even cull, the Scimitar Oryx. The permits take months to acquire and cost hundreds of dollars.

The policy encourages ranchers to replace their rare animals with animals that aren’t endangered. Government and ignorant environmentalists make it harder to conserve endangered species.