Sunday, January 29, 2012

David Bamberger on 60 Minutes Tonight

My friend David Bamberger—who has been working since 1969 to restore the worst piece of land in Blanco County, Texas (and maybe the rest of the Texas Hill Country) in order to prove that what's good for the environment is good for the rancher, and vice versa—will appear on “60 Minutes” tonight as part a of piece on “hunting ranches in the U.S. that offer exotic big game species.”

David’s ranch offers deer, and maybe turkey, hunting in season, and it is scrupulously supervised. It’s an important source of income for the ranch, and, of course, keeps the deer population within the land’s carrying capacity. No exotic big game species are hunted on the ranch, but there is such a species present: the extinct-in-the-wild Scimitar Horned Oryx, a type of large antelope that once lived in sub-saharan Africa and is said to have been able to kill lions (when you see their horns, you’ll understand). When he heard, many years ago, that zoologists were looking for land where the surviving remnants of otherwise extinct species could live in reasonably familiar, and reasonably wild, conditions, David offered them a square mile of his ranch, and the zoologists decided the Scimitar Horned Oryx was a good fit. The herd has been there for a long time now, bred to exact instructions from the zoologists in order maximize genetic diversity, and thereby give the species the best possible chance of survival if it can ever be reintroduced to its native wilds.

I think I can guess at the rest of the story, as least as it concerns David, the ranch and the Oryx, but to go on I’d have to start speaking for David (we’ve discussed the matter in some detail, but I’m sure I don’t know every part of it, and few people can tell a story like David can, in any case, so best not to try). Suffice it to say, I agree with David. What remains to be seen is what 60 Minutes makes of it all.

Tune in tonight to find out.

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