WASHINGTON (Jan. 20, 2014)—President Obama has signed into law the 2014 Omnibus Bill, which includes a Dallas Safari Club (DSC)-backed provision to ensure the future of three antelope species nearly extinct in their native countries but flourishing on ranches in Texas.
The “Three Amigos” provision, for which DSC has lobbied over the past several years, exempts U.S. populations of scimitar horned oryx, Dama gazelle and addax from Endangered Species Act protections. The exemptions clear the way for ranchers to maintain herds of these exotic game animals and to offer hunts without federal intervention. Hunting revenue incentivizes ranchers to ensure that populations will continue to thrive.
Author of the provision, Rep. John Carter (R-TX-31) stated, “This legislation gets big government out of the way so that ranchers can begin working to bring these rare antelope populations back to former levels. This has been a long time in coming – but we got it done.”
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX-32) and Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA-42) were also key supporters in this effort. “I’m pleased that the House and Senate were able to reach an agreement that allows American sportsmen to continue their conservation of the ‘Three Amigos,’” said Sessions. “Despite the onerous and unnecessary federal regulations that have recently threatened the ongoing work to preserve the existence of these endangered antelope, this Omnibus Appropriations bill takes important steps to protect the ‘Three Amigos’ and preserve our rich sporting heritage.”
The antelope were exempt from the Endangered Species Act from 2005 until 2012 during which time populations experienced dramatic growth in the United States. However, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was forced to remove the exemption due to legal action that prompted a cumbersome and lengthy permitting process all of which led to a dramatic decrease in populations. For example, Scimitar horned oryx numbers in Texas are now at nearly half of 2010 levels.
“We’re very grateful to Congressman John (Judge) Carter (TX-31) for offering, and Congressman Pete Sessions and Senator John Cornyn for insisting that the ‘Three Amigos’ legislation be a part of the Omnibus Bill. This common-sense conservation measure wouldn’t have happened without their dedicated leadership. Senator Cornyn played a big role behind the scenes in securing Senate support for this specific legislative fix,” said Ben Carter, DSC executive director. “I know that our DSC team and the EWA representatives in Washington, D.C. got this done,” he added.
Organizations partnering with the Dallas Safari Club helping this legislation become a reality include the Exotic Wildlife Association, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, National Rifle Association, Safari Club International and North American Deer Farmer’s Association. Special thanks to DSC’s Washington Representative Glenn LeMunyon, and Liz Williams and John Blount with EWA.
About Dallas Safari Club (DSC)
Desert bighorns on an unbroken landscape, stalking Cape buffalo in heavy brush, students discovering conservation. DSC works to guarantee a future for all these and much more. An independent organization since 1982, DSC has become an international leader in conserving wildlife and wilderness lands, educating youth and the general public, and promoting and protecting the rights and interests of hunters worldwide. Get involved at www.biggame.org.