Bisbee's Fish & Wildlife Conservation Fund Logo

For Immediate Release
May 13, 2014
Contact: Paul Kimzey, paul@bisbeesconservationfund.org
Additional Images Available Upon Request

BISBEE’S CONSERVATION FUND MAKES $125,000 DONATION TO THE SECOND ARK FOUNDATION TO HELP CONSERVE ENDANGERED AFRICAN WILDLIFE

The Bisbee’s Fish & Wildlife Conservation Fund has donated $125,000 in support of the Second Ark Foundation’s ambitious efforts to re-introduce Scimitar-horned oryx to their native habitat in the African Sahara region. The donation will augment the on-going efforts of the foundation, as well as the non-profit Exotic Wildlife Association, a membership group that represents ranchers and conservation preserves that raise exotic hoof stock in the United States. The organizations are actively working to conserve and re-establish oryx in the wild.

“For years Texas ranchers have been conserving African hoof stock to ensure their long-term survival,” says Kevin Reid, owner of the Morani River Ranch and a trustee of the Second Ark Foundation. “Many species have now gone extinct or are critically-endangered in their native habitat, so our goal is to export breeding stock back to Africa to augment and enhance local populations.”

The Second Ark Foundation and EWA have already helped establish infrastructure and breeding practices of Scimitar-horned oryx in Senegal. The Bisbee’s donation will help fund the shipment of a U.S.-raised herd of oryx into the existing compound for greater genetic diversity and DNA testing. Another project EWA is undertaking in Texas is mapping the natural range of Dama ga-zelles through the use of radio transmitter collars so captive and wild stock will have enough room for successful breeding. A third project involves studying Addax antelope DNA to build the data base for future African re-introduction.

“Since EWA members have been good stewards of these animals for 40 years we have the know-how and ability to re-establish them, where others have limited impact,” Reid explains. “We will be donating our own animals, paying for transportation, the fencing, feed and animal hus-bandry of the brood stock. But it will be challenging to coordinate the logistics to ship animals of this size by aircraft. It’s also critical that we work with local human populations to find a long-term solution where these animals can thrive in the demanding Sahara environment once they are re-introduced.”

“I hope this donation is the first of a long partnership between the Second Ark Foundation, EWA and the Bisbee’s Conservation Fund on many projects together. We need help telling our conservation story to national and international audiences,” he adds.

“We’re looking for solutions for saving these animals in the wild and re-introduction is part of that solution,” says Larry Johnson, chairman of the EWA Conservation Committee and a director of the Sahara Conservation Fund. “Some of these animals are already extinct in the wild and others number less than 300. It may not happen in my lifetime, but I want to give the next generation the opportunity to see these animals exist forever. Nothing is easy but this effort is definitely worth the challenge. Without our help, these animals will certainly go extinct.”

Once all the permits have been acquired and everything is in place, the animals will be exported to Senegal. The transplanted stock will then be allowed to acclimate in protected areas and breed. At that point they would be managed by age in preparation for multiple releases back into the wild.

“This marks an important first step to build a coalition of like-minded groups,” says Brian White, the director of development for the Bisbee’s Conservation Fund. “We want to bring everybody together and work collectively to best accomplish our conservation mission.

“God could have accomplished the proliferation of animals on His own and skipped the human involvement and a crude boat. Instead, He encouraged people to work together and this is one of those tasks that is close to His heart,” White added.

To learn about the Bisbee’s Fish & Wildlife Conservation Fund or to donate to specific projects, please visit bisbeesconservationfund.org.

To learn more about the Exotic Wildlife Association’s work and the mission of the Second Ark Foundation, please visit www.myewa.org and www.secondarkfoundation.com.

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