Monday, February 13, 2012

If you like to go hunting, where is there anyplace to hunt.? Most hunters with all their gear and scopes really don’t give any animal a fighting chance. Our President Teddy Roosevelt was a big game hunter and had rooms filled with mounted heads. That was before the animal rights people showed up in herds.
So, where can you go if you want to do some big game hunting? You’ll never guess. There is a place that has thousands of acres where there are herds of African antelope, zebra, giraffe and long horned cows that share the terrain. It looks like Africa but it is Texas. Now the long horns are sharing the range with more than a quarter million exotic animals. They are from Africa , Asia and Europe.
Today Texas has more exotic wildlife than any other place on earth. There are about 125 exotic species now in Texas. Poor beautiful Africa isn’t taking care of their people, their animals or their land. Lately their land is quickly being used for farming or cutting down trees for fuel. If it wasn’t for these ranchers, some species would be extinct by now.
The Exotic Wildlife Association, is based in the Texas hill country. It is in their interest to represent about 5,000 exotic ranches across North America. Texas has the most non-native animals. John Wayne across the ranges herding cattle doesn’t exist anymore all the cattle are being bred in cattle factories. There is a change in the Texas landscape almost going on by being un-noticed by the rest of the country.
It all began about a half century ago, with surplus animals from zoos. Ranches were collecting animals in 1975 living side by side with their cattle as a goofy oddity along with their cattle. Now they are known to have brought back 3 different African antelope from the brink of extinction. They are actually thriving roaming around in herds now. Yet in Africa they are still on the brink of extinction even now.
Why are these ranchers having these exotics on their land? What else greed! It is the trophy hunters who go their in the thousands to be just like Teddy Roosevelt and hunt the animals with their telescopes on their guns and kill the exotic animals for about $5,000 a head. Real easy money for the ranchers. But is killing these beautiful animals considered conservation? How do these former cowboys get away with it?
It is open season on about 100 species of exotic game all the time there because these animals are considered private property. Some animals like the gazelle cost $10,000 to kill. The rarest a type of cape buffalo has a $50,000 price tag. Exotic wildlife has become a billion dollar industry in Texas supporting more than 14,000 jobs. A typical 30,000 acre ranch would do the job easily.
Animal rights activists complain that the ranchers make it too easy to find and kill these animals for profit. For years the United States government agreed that by hunting these animals we are actually conserving them. The Department of the Interior Fish and Wildlife Service said, “Hunting,,,provides an economic incentive for…ranchers to continue to breed these species…and hunting… reduces the threat of the species’ extinction.” On some ranches, they don’t allow more than 10% of a herd to be hunted per year.
Without the monetary value, the ranchers wouldn’t keep the exotics around. Paying lots of money for these trophies doesn’t make it right but it is the only way a rancher will pay to keep these animals alive , Profits. The ranchers feel you sacrifice one animal so that many others can be born.

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