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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:


For those that just don't seem to get it -- if the only way to prevent the human race from going extinct was to stick them on an alien hunting ranch on the Moon, would you sign up for the next rocketship to the Moon? If you said, "yes," I'll pay for your ticket because that's where you belong.

I hope all of you who are opposed to these ranchers maintaining and growing large herds of animals that were once endangered are vegetarians. I'm sorry, but I fail to see the difference in what they are doing and cattle ranchers. FoA comments: There is a difference in scale, but both the meat industry and the hunting industry are examples of the commercial exploitation of animals, and Friends of Animals opposes all such exploitation

Why were these species of antelope on the endangered list when in their native country? If their global population declines after the passage of this new law here in the USA, who will be to blame? FoA comments: It's hunting that put them on the endangered species list in the first place.

We should not stop here. What about bringing a suit to eliminate hunting itself? If we are serious about protecting all our friends then legal hunting should be madei illegal.

Comment on 60 Minutes interview.... Where did the Oryx on the Senegal preserve come from? What type of protection is in place to keep Poachers away? Are the horns of the Oryx worth a lot on the Black Market? FoA comments: None came from hunting ranches. The oryx are kept in a protected reserves on many thousand of acres. The horns don't have a special value beyond trophy hunters.

watching the 60 min. program. This totally disgusts me that something like these ranches even exsist. I am not not anti hunting, but this is like hunting in a zoo.

The rancher stopped mid-sentence when he almost said "these animals are used for sport". It's unthinkable that there are among us those who find "sport" in slaughtering innocent creatures, and it's even more reprehensible that there are monsters like that rancher who accommodate such people, for money. No species alive would willingly accept such a situation, given the choice. I believe all would prefer extinction over that kind of "life."

I'm appalled and disgusted that these ranchers feel they are "helping" animals on the endangered list by allowing them to be hunted on their ranches! The ones being "helped" are the ranchers themselves who are profiting by this oxymoron mentality. For them it comes down to one thing: No hunting = no money!!! Shame on them!!!

Very glad to hear of your hard fought victory regarding the scimitar horned-oryx, addad and dama gazelles. This, my friends, is only the tip of the iceberg. Canned hunting is alive, and thriving here in the US, as well as South Africa. Do not be fooled by anyone claiming that this type of hunting is all in the name of conservation. It is all about the money, pure and simple. I would know. For quite a few years, I worked with a canned hunting facility that operates out of southwestern Michigan and is involved with safari gaming operations in South Africa, as well. I have witnessed plenty of wealthy clients come in, plop down several thousands of dollars to shoot everything from elk, audad sheep, ostrich, black Russian boar, turkey, white-tail deer, Ibex, Mouflan sheep and Dall sheep, to name just a few. I have witnessed the results of the Fish & Wildlife Commission busting the owner's son for brokering a deal to sell exotic tiger skins. (Read about it on the internet). Also, one of their clients who hunted at the preserve, was busted for shooting a tiger inside a horse trailer in Chicago. (Read about it on the internet). It has never really been a "hunt", as we always sent the "hunter" to the far outreaches of the property, where we knew the animals would not be. After a full day or two of running the so called "hunter" through the brush and mire on the property, we would set them up in a stand, not but a hundred yards away from a feeder, where they were guaranteed to take their shot at a chance for their trophy, during the animals feeding time. This same type of operation is played out everyday on hunting preserves from all parts of the US and in South Africa. This type of hunting is what you need to be setting your sights on next. Good luck and keep up the good fight.

On the CBS online video clip, the game rancher says he loves these animals but has no problem killing them because it is for the welfare of the oryx.