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Saving North African Antelopes: Friends of Animals' Priscilla Feral to Appear on CBS' 60 Minutes This Sunday

January 26, 2012 | Press Releases / Hunting & Wildlife Management / Free-Living Animals / Hunting Ranches

Darien, CT-Friends of Animals recently celebrated a victory for scimitar-horned oryx, addax, and dama gazelles who are routinely bred and killed on hunting ranches here in the United States. These animals, on the brink of extinction in their native homelands in northern Africa, have been the targets of paying trophy hunters seeking a thrill-kill.


On 5 Jan. 2012, a new rule in the U.S. Federal Register was published, reflecting two decades of work by Friends of Animals to protect these antelope. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) will now protect all members of these three species under the Endangered Species Act-including those bred on U.S. soil and sold for sport-hunting.

60 Minutes will recount the story -Hunting animals to save them?- of how these animals ended up on the verge of extinction, and how Friends of Animals, through its project in Senegal, is protecting these animals so they can recover their footing and freedom in their own habitat.

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"We're grateful that 60 Minutes is telling this landmark story," says Friends of Animals' president Priscilla Feral, who worked with "60 Minutes" correspondent Lara Logan in the late spring of 2011-recounting Friends of Animals' work on this project that began in 1999 with a trip to Senegal.

Friends of Animals, with the Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Denver's Sturm College of Law, sued the federal government to list the these antelopes as "endangered" under U.S. law. In September 2005, the FWS did list the three species as "endangered," noting that desertification, human encroachment, ranching, regional military activity, and hunting imperil these antelopes.

Yet on the same date, the FWS published an exception to the rule removing take and transport prohibitions from the very animals that the United States has the strongest power to protect-those kept by U.S. enterprises. The blanket exemption authorized killing, commercial transport, and interstate or foreign commerce-hence, allowing continued exploitation of these animals on hunting ranches.

A court case brought by Friends of Animals and WildEarth Guardians in 2009 challenged the loophole and secured a court order finding that the exemption violated Section 10 of the Endangered Species Act. The judge call the blanket exemption "anathema" to the ESA, and in June 2009 remanded the rule to the FWS for the appropriate change.

Friends of Animals currently supports an increasing population of 175 oryxes (and dozens of dama gazelles) in northern Senegal within two, semi-desert reserves encompassing thousands of acres-and is committed to seeing these numbers grow.

"Even though this project is decades long, we're just beginning," says Feral. "We're committed to ensuring these animals thrive in freedom once again."

CBS' 60 Minutes airs Sunday 29 January 2012 at 7:00 PM Eastern Standard Time. Check your local listings.


Friends of Animals, an advocacy organization founded in 1957, advocates for the right of animals to live free, on their own terms:


Tell me what is so MACHO to kill an innocent animal? Just to kill it? What high do you get, what feeling? I know you are a tough guy. Do you also beat your wife?? It's the same thing.

I just read the comments on the CBS website (I wasn't able to watch the entire "60 Minutes" segment; I only got to see a two-minute preview). It stuns me that people really believe that canned hunting ranches are important to conservation. Do they think these ranches are somehow similar, even in premise, to the captive-breeding programs run by zoos? Speaking of which, don't people realize that many of the animals at the ranches probably began their lives as "surplus stock" from zoos? These animals will never be reintroduced into the wild. The populations in their native countries will be pushed to the edge regardless of the size of the captive population. I think that those who defend canned hunting as an exercise in conservation and fail to question the validity of the majority of captive breeding programs that are open to the public should perhaps take a look at the book "Animal Underworld" by Alan Green.

It's a sorry state of affairs when the big macho hunters with their large caliber rifles feel exuberant after killing these beautiful animals. Perhaps the big brave hunters are feeling "macho" to make up for their other inadequacies. Have these cowards hiding behind their weapons ever had to outrun a bullet? The day that animals can start shooting back is the day we can truly call this a "sport".

I have just read an e-mail that says Priscilla Feral would rather see these antelope extinct than hunted. I'd like to point out that what Priscilla actually said and has done is to ensure that they do stay alive and well, but: "Not in Texas." I'm surprised this was missed because it was stated to Lara Logan quite firmly. Oryx live in semi-freedom in a refuge in Senegal which has received support (and on-site visits) from Priscilla Feral and Friends of Animals for the past 13 years. Calves have been born recently in the Ferlo reserve in Senegal, where 175 oryx (who are not being used as lures for profit) are living proof that altruism ~does~ exist and ~is~ the spirit protecting these animals. What a sad commentary on our culture if the featured ranchers are right and nothing can be saved that isn't exploited for money. Wake up while another culture is still possible.

I was so appalled when I saw the 60 Minutes feature on hunting exotic wildlife in Texas. Hunters will say what ever they want to justify killing animals. Trophy hunting, or hunting these rare creatures for any reason, should be against the law, period. To say that these hunters/ranchers are keeping these species from extinction is an oxymoron, and a hideous joke. Breeding them only to kill them, really? Do they seriously believe their own bull? Please support efforts to stop this not just in Texas but anywhere and put these animals back in their natural habits where they can be protected under laws surrounding preserves and anti-poaching.

Thats exactly what Fossil Rim does! I used to guide the early morning 'safaris' from our Safari Camp. I promised the patrons I'd show them 90% of what they might see in a whole day in the bush in 2 hrs. at Fossil Rim.

I would like to propose an alternate approach for Texas ranchers. Instead of hunting, why not develop a Safari approach to viewing these animals. Kruger National Park in South Africa has "concessions" such as Sabi Sands where individuals can vacation and view the animals with guided tours. Money from such tourism would support the costs of maintaining these ranches just as the hunting charges. Wouldn't it be wonderful for Texas to take a worldwide lead in animal protection. Safari in Texas!

The term "sport hunting" is absurd. It's no sport when only one side wants to do it, has a rifle, and thinks he's a he-man for nabbing his trophy. These sub-humans are the worst type of cowards. And yet they think that paying to kill innocent, sentient, magnificent animals makes them special. These hunters should be publicly shamed and condemned. But how?

I just watched the 60 Minutes segment. Thanks for taking a stand against the horrible killing!

Just saw 60mins - this makes me sick - and it's right here in US-Texas - this hunting MUST STOP!!! There must me some sort of gov. help / $$ assistance to help breed and keep these beautiful animals alive!!! There has to be another way for this place to make money vs. being hunted !!!