FoA sues again to stop hunting of ranched oryx
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 2013: (Actually published on November 20, 2013.)
NORWALK––Friends of Animals on October 16, 2013 sued the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell for continuing to issue permits that allow hunters to kill ranch-raised scimitar-horned oryx, dama gazelle, and addax. All three are endangered species, but have been raised on hunting ranches in Texas and New Mexico for more than 50 years, beginning decades before passage of the Endangered Species Act. Extirpated from the wild by the mid-1970s, scimitar-horned oryx have been reintroduced to several parts of their former range in the Middle East, but the reintroductions have used zoo stock, not oryx from the hunting ranches. Some of the zoo oryx, however, may be descended from hunting ranch stock. Ranchers and hunters claim that this demonstates that raising oryx to be shot has conservation value. Previous FoA litigation obliged the Fish & Wildlife Service to recognize the hunting ranch oryx, gazelle, and addax in 2005 as part of the endangered populations. The Fish & Wildlife Service had recognized all three species as endangered in the wild for nearly 15 years, while exempting the ranched populations from the listing. When the Fish & Wildlife Service failed to prevent the ranched oryx from being hunted, FoA sued again in 2006, winning a court order in 2009 that compelled the Fish & Wildlife Service to enforce the endangered species listing. A countersuit seeking to overturn the listing followed from Safari Club International, representing trophy hunters, and the Exotic Wildlife Association, representing hunting ranch owners. Denver U.S. District Court Judge Beryl A. Howell on August 9, 2013 rejected the countersuit in a 105-page ruling, setting up the case filed by FoA in October. “The federal defendants have demonstrated a pattern and practice of non-compliance with the Endangered Species Act when it comes to processing permits for hunting ranches,” FoA said in a prepared statement. “Today, addax and dama gazelles are nearly wiped out in Northern Africa due to hunting, war, desertification of habitat, human settlement and agribusiness. FoA has facilitated the reintroduction of these antelope within Ferlo National Park in northwest Senegal. In fiscal year 2013, $66,000 [from FoA] went toward expanding the Oryx Fence Project,” which protects about 120 oryx and 20 dama gazelles.