Satao – the legacy

“Fortunately, being past his breeding prime, Satao likely already passed on his ‘big tusker’ genes many times over before he fell victim to the poachers poison arrow.” ~ Andrew Wyatt

Mark Deeble

Satao - plain legacy

It’s been months since I was in the ‘hot-box’. The unseasonal rain that scattered Tsavo’s elephants has passed and we have seen the return of the dry season winds. In the past few weeks, they’ve wicked the moisture from the surface of the soil and the grasses have brown-withered. The days of plenty are over. Elephants can no longer rely on the seasonal waterholes and wallows, and are returning to permanent water.

In my absence, the steel filming hide we call the ‘hot-box’ had become a ‘wet-box’ – it had been submerged for months. We spent the first hour of the day bucketing out a ton of anaerobic sludge. I spent the hours afterwards, evicting toads and giant centipedes that had sought refuge in the gloomy, fetid interior.

Last year, I spent several weeks confined underground in it. In all that time, I never saw as many elephants as I…

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Safari Club Success – SCI Litigation & Bamberger Ranch Help the Three Amigos

“The Safari Club International “walks the walk” by making direct investment in “Conservation through Captive Breeding.” ~Andrew Wyatt

Hunt Forever

bambergeraddax2huntforever061614Where does all the money go? Animal rights groups frequently recover major financial awards in lawsuits allegedly pursued in the name of “animal protection.” How often does that money get spent on conservation for the species those lawsuits were allegedly filed to protect? Not often, if the groups’ websites are any indication.

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Southern Black Rhino: A Retrospective

“Fossil Rim demonstrating once again the invaluable contributions to ‘conservation through captive breeding’ made by the private sector in Texas!” ~ Andrew Wyatt

Words On Wildlife

During the 1980s and 1990s the country of Zimbabwe had a thriving population of black rhinos and they were managed well by the government and by private ranchers. Unfortunately, poaching came to their country and the conservation of many species was threatened—including black rhinos.




Captive rhino managers in the United States and Australia combined resources and approached the government of Zimbabwe with the idea of bringing ten rhinos to the United States and ten rhinos to Australia as an assurance population against the extinction of the species in Zimbabwe. Fossil Rim was an instrumental player in the formation of the International Black Rhino Foundation (now called the International Rhino Foundation—and focusing on all rhino species), which had the mission of capturing, transporting and managing southern black rhinos ex situ (outside of their normal range, usually meaning captive management). There were several months of negotiations—field experts thought they had about 2500…

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Jamaica To Hand Over Heart of Its Largest Protected Area to Blacklisted Chinese Conglomerate

“Jamaica to cave in to Chinese on deal that would seal the fate of one of the country’s most pristine areas, and home to the endangered Jamaican Iguana.” ~Andrew Wyatt

strange behaviors

Hellshire coast

Tourism has long been the leading economic sector in Jamaica, bringing in half of all foreign revenue and supporting a quarter of all jobs. Yet government officials now risk jeopardizing that lucrative business, and Jamaica’s reputation in the international community, with a secretive deal to let a Chinese company build a mega-freighter seaport in the nation’s largest natural protected area.

The planned port would occupy the Goat Islands, in the heart of the Portland Bight Protected Area, which only last year the same government officials were petitioning UNESCO to designate a Global Biosphere Reserve. Instead, the lure of a $1.5 billion investment and a rumored 10,000 jobs has resulted in the deal with China Harbour Engineering Company, part of a conglomerate blacklisted by the World Bank under its Fraud and Corruption Sanctioning Policy.

Many details of the proposed project remain unknown, and the government has rebuffed repeated requests for information…

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Safari Club International Steps Up to Defend Constitutionality of Three Antelope Law

The Safari Club International steps up to protect conservation through captive breeding of the ‘Three Amigos’ antelope! ~Andrew Wyatt

First For Hunters

3 antelope ruling dama gazelle Safari Club International has been granted intervenor status in federal district court to defend Section 127 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 .  The new provision, signed into law on January 18, 2014, exempts the taking of members of U.S. herds of the scimitar-horned oryx, dama gazelle and addax from most permit requirements associated with their endangered species status.  Section 127 directed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to reissue a 2005 rule that excuses private ranchers from obtaining permits to cull and to sell culling opportunities for members of their three antelope herds.  Even before the FWS reissued the 2005 rule, Friends of Animals filed a lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of Section 127.  Their lawsuit claims that, by passing the legislation, Congress illegally interfered with the authority of the judiciary which constitutes a violation of the constitutional separation of powers doctrine.   This is not the first…

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Scimitar-Horned Oryx: The Return to Africa

“Private conservation in Texas is bringing the Scimitar-Horned Oryx back from the brink of extinction. In 2000 this endangerd antelope was declared extinct in the wild. Now Fossil Rim is working hard to return this magnificent animal to it’s native range in north Africa.” ~Andrew Wyatt

Words On Wildlife

Scimitar-horned oryx (SHO) were declared extinct in the wild in 2000.  Conservationists, such as Fossil Rim and the Sahara Conservation Fund, are working hard to breed this species and reintroduce SHO into large protected areas in northern Africa.  This species was formerly native to the Sahara Desert and was heavily diminished by overhunting and habitat loss.  Fossil Rim has more than 20 SHO in our herd and has produced six to eight calves during each of the last three years.


RS3180_ScimitarOryx3 Scimitar-Horned Oryx

 Fossil Rim is also working to support the conservation and propagation of SHO in protected areas in Africa.  In 2007, Fossil Rim sent two scimitar-horned oryx and two addax (a critically endangered species) to Tunisia to join captive herds living in a large protected area that is several thousand hectares in size.  Numerous zoos have sent SHO and addax to Tunisia, and the hope is that someday these…

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New Lawsuit Challenges Three Antelope Provision

“An animal rights organization desperate to stop endangered species conservation in Texas has filed suit to block the recently passed 2014 Approporiations Act.” ~Andrew Wyatt

First For Hunters

damaGazellefirstforhunters012914 Friends of Animals has just filed yet another lawsuit to thwart conservation of U.S. populations of scimitar-horned oryx, dama gazelle and addax (three antelope).  This latest suit challenges the constitutionality of Section 127 of the 2014 Appropriations Act , passed by Congress and signed by the President in January.  Section 127 directs the Secretary of the Interior to reissue a 2005 regulation that made it unnecessary for U.S. private owners of the three antelope species to apply for and obtain individual permits to allow the hunting of members of their herds.  In 2009, a federal district court determined that the 2005 regulation violated the Endangered Species Act and directed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to withdraw the rule.  Section 127 provides the FWS with new statutory authority to reissue the 2005 rule.

Friends of Animals claims that Section 127 will have an effect on pending litigation and therefore violates…

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The sweet smell of petrichor

“I love the smell of petrichor in the morning– smells like… Africa!” ~Andrew Wyatt

Mark Deeble

BLX vs thunder storm

A week ago in Tsavo, we had an unseasonal storm of rain. We’d been flying, doors off, searching for the matriarch that we’d not seen for a while. As the cloud thickened and lowered, and dark skeins of rain descended to hide Musinga Hill, we headed back towards the airstrip, lest we get rained out. We landed with minutes to spare. We’d just got the camera off and doors on before the first violent gust arrived that whipped the rudder over, and set the plane rocking on it’s under-carriage. Neither of us cared that the search had been cut short though, because with the wind came the smell of rain – the sweet smell of petrichor.

Everyone has their own favourite smell – it might be that of new-cut grass, the bruised leaves of lemon verbena, freesia flowers or linseed oil.

For anyone that has lived in rural Africa, the…

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Texas Gasses Its Rattlesnakes This Weekend–Maybe for the Last Time

” The Sweetwater Rattlesnake round-up to proceed as planned, but the question of whether Texas will end the practice of ‘gassing’ still hangs in the balance.” ~ Andrew Wyatt

strange behaviors

(Photo: Greg Ward/Getty Images) (Photo: Greg Ward/Getty Images)

Members of the Texas State Parks and Wildlife Commission had a rare opportunity in January to commit an act of political courage. If they’d done it, hundreds of native Texans—and the creatures living around them—might have been spared a needlessly horrifying death this week.

A vote originally scheduled for the commission’s January meeting would have ended the practice of spraying gas fumes into cracks and crevices in the ground to drive rattlesnakes out of their dens. The groggy victims get tossed into bags and delivered to a rattlesnake roundup in Sweetwater, a town of 10,600 about three hours west of Fort Worth, which has made itself notorious with this practice. Because of the non-vote, the roundup will take place this Saturday and Sunday as usual.

The practice of gassing snakes, once common, is now regarded as barbaric even by the state’s other rattlesnake roundups. More than…

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Yes, Hotshot Harry Can Be A Hunter and a Conservationist, Too

“Prince Harry hates poaching… Loves hunting and conservation.” ~ Andrew Wyatt

strange behaviors

Prince Harry

Britain’s Prince Harry continues to take heavy flak for being simultaneously a hunter and a conservationist, with the appearance in today’s Daily Mail of the above photograph.  It’s 10 years old, and shows “Crackshot Harry, The Buffalo Killer” in Argentina, smiling over the carcass of a water buffalo, not exactly an endangered species.

Harry has been taking a public relations hit since going out earlier this month on a boar hunt in Spain immediately prior to making a public pledge to fight against the illegal trade in ivory, rhino horn, tiger parts and other endangered animals.

My Irish and American family background means I am no great fan of royalty, and I should probably welcome the endlessly clumsy, tone-deaf behavior by the British Royals.  It makes a better case for republicanism than any Fenian or Federalist ever did.  (And it’s so much more entertaining.)  But that said, a legal hunt…

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