Oops – some oryx thriving, not extinct

Errors happen in journalism. Though most publications – especially The Eagle – go to great lengths to prevent wrongful information making it into print errors are only a typo or dropped word away.

But the one recently in an AP story on Yahoo was a biggie when it declared that oryx are extinct in the wild. Click here to read the story and statement.

The article is on a young scimitar-horned oryx recently born at The National Zoo. Scimitar-horned oryx are probably extinct in their native desert habitat of northern Africa largely because of poaching. Several captive herds exist and several thousand of the animals roam ranches in Texas. Some are on broad lands enclosed in high fences where hunting is allowed.

Rather that’s “in the wild” or even “hunting” is debatable. That other species of oryx are doing well in the wild can’t be argued. They’re in fine shape.

Several African countries hold other species, such as East African oryx, in very good wild numbers. New Mexico also has a thriving herd on and near the White Sands Missile Base. They’re also known s gemsbok.

Hunting is allowed in such areas to help control the populations. They make striking trophies with their gorgeous hides and long horns. Usually in Africa part of the meat is cooked in camp and the rest distributed to locals.

Friends who’ve shot oryx in New Mexico have said it’s the finest wild game meat they’ve ever tasted – and that there are certainly plenty of the animals to go around.