I’ve thought about this quite a bit. As I started to hunt, I learned about native species, invasive species, exotics, culling and harvesting and conservation. I was under the impression that exotic animals were “bad” per se because they take our native species’ land and food, water and shelter sources.

There are over 125 species of non-native hoof stock (exotics) in Texas. Exotics, and most non-natives, are harmless to our ecosystem. Exotics include, but are not limited to, aoudad sheep, axis deer, sika deer, fallow deer, blackbuck antelope and nilgai antelope, etc.

But, the more I researched through my writing for the EWA and learned about exotics, it clicked to me that exotics aren’t all that bad. In fact, exotic species not only don’t harm our native animals as I originally thought, they boost our economy. Exotic wildlife is a $2 billion industry supporting over 14,000 jobs. But, even most important, we are saving and conserving these exotics from extinction. Many of the exotics in the U.S. are extinct in their native countries yet are thriving here.

It is because of groups like the EWA that the scimitar-horned oryx, dama gazelle and addax gazelle, also known as the Three Amigos, are not extinct and have over 90% of their collective populations in Texas alone.

All three of these animals are listed as extinct in their native lands mostly because of poaching and habitat loss. EWA recognizes the efforts of ranchers who have developed herds of rare species using range management, wildlife husbandry and hunting as management tools. In fact, such tools have helped several species become more numerous on EWA Member-ranches than they are in their entire countries of origin.

So what’s the one reason we should NOT allow exotics?

If you do NOT want to save these species from extinction, then we shouldn’t allow them. It’s that simple.

Written by Carly Brasseux.