This is a fascinating piece about bringing endangered speicies back from extinction through the use of property rights ... in Texas. Some background ...
By Mid-Twentieth Century, elephants were endangered in Africa. Hunters hunted them vigorously. Locals viewed them as oversized rodents that frequently destoryed their crops. In 1977, with more than 160,ooo elephants in existence, Kenya placed a complete ban on hunting elephants. Barely more than a decade later, there were 16,000 elephants left.
Also with diminshing herds, Zimbabwe took another apporach. Hunting areas were established with proceeds going to compensate locals for damages caused by elephants and to elepehant preservation. Experts calculate a sustainable number of elephants that can me hunted each year and hunters bid pay for the privilege of hunting them. From 1989 through 2005, the elephant population grew from 37,000 to 85,000, and is believed to top 100,000 today. Meanwhile, hunters get to hunt and the locals have an incentive to preserve the wildlife. (See my earlier post: Shoot an Elephant, Save a Community)
The story below is about conservation of three other species in Texase using Zimbabwean methods. Yet environtmentalists are successfully winning legal battles to stop this approach in favor of the Kenyan model, effectively protecting species to extinction.
The scimitar horned oryx . . . the addax . . . the dama gazelle - three elegant desert antelope that you'd hope to see on a journey through Africa, except that their numbers are dwindling there. Which is why Lara Logan went to Texas -- yes, Texas. There, on large grassland ranches, some exotic species that are endangered in the wild have been brought back in large numbers. But there's a catch: a percentage of the herd is hunted every year by hunters who pay big money for a big catch. The ranchers say this limited "culling" gives them the money they need to care for the animals and conserve the species. But animal rights activists don't buy that argument, claiming the hunts are "canned" and that hunting is wholly inconsistent with conservancy.