As surprising as it may sound, some exotic species of animals that are considered endangered in their native lands are thriving on privately owned ranches in the State of Texas! The iconic Texas longhorn now shares the range with more than a quarter million exotic animals from Africa, Asia and Europe. Texas Heritage Protection is proud to report that Texas has more exotic wildlife than any other place on earth!
One of the biggest achievements of saving endangered species can be seen in the scimitar horned Oryx, the addax and the dama gazelle. These are three species of antelope that are almost extinct in Africa but are thriving on large grassland ranches on the Texan landscape and growing in numbers. Local ranchers offer limited hunting to bring in funds to allow them to properly care for the herds and further conserve the species. Regulated hunts benefit local communities and conservation efforts. When ranchers and their local community benefit from hunting tourism by working as tour guides, trackers, game scouts or in the hospitality business, they value and protect the animals and the habitat in which they live.
There are approximately 125 different exotic species in Texas. Members of the Exotic Wildlife Association represent the interests of over 5,000 exotic ranchers across North America. How did it all begin? It began back in the early seventies with surplus animals from zoos. What started out as a curiosity soon turned to a major achievement in wildlife conservation with the success of bring back several species of African antelope that were facing extinction in their native wild lands.
The U.S government is in full support of this conservation strategy. For many years the government has allowed the hunting of the scimitar horned Oryx and several of the other endangered antelope to be hunted on U.S. soil. After careful research, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has concluded that hunting not only provides an economic incentive for the ranchers but also allows the ranchers to continue to breed a number of species to successfully increase their numbers and reduce the threat of extinction.
Ranchers are in full agreement that the animals are thriving because of the value they hold within the hunting community and they firmly believe that by sacrificing one, many more will be born and raised from calves to adults. These adults will become big trophy males and females and the cycle will continue. Exotic wildlife has become a billion dollar industry in Texas and has created and supported many jobs. The cost of a guided hunt on a private ranch comes with a price tag of $4,500 to upwards of $50,000 per hunt depending on the species being hunting.
Contact Texas Heritage Protection to learn more about how you can conserve and protect our great State of Texas!