Conservation Through Commerce
Hunters and Protectors of Wildlife and Habitat
JOIN US at the Stewards of Wildlife banquet featuring guest speaker Larry Weishuhn and performer Morgan Mills. Learn more: https://www.stewardsofwildlife.org/stewards-banquet
I recently had the opportunity and privilege of meeting with some very special individuals, all of whom I consider to be incredible human beings.
For me, it was such an honor, and one I shall not soon forget, to spend some quality time with this group of wildlife conservationists,many of whom have dedicated their entire professional careers to the conservation of wildlife. Needless to say, it was a very profound and enlightening experience for me since I share this same passion.
What these people are NOT is just as important as what they ARE. They are NOT environmentalists, preservationists, animal rights activists,political idea logs etc. etc.
In fact, it would be very difficult to put just one label on them. Their mission statement sheds light on what they all have in common and on what binds them all together: Preserve
sustainable populations to conserve wildlife in perpetuity.
This Mission is accomplished using a combination of public/private sector alliances to create meaningful, secured populations of ungulates - FOREVER.
With EWA currently going through our own exercise in rebranding and redefining our mission and as your PR Chairman, I so badly wanted to “borrow
indefinitely” for our own use the very essence of what this group’s message says. It is, what I believe, the primary focus and future for our organization and gives us the moral authority and social justification for every other thing we do,including our hunting and property rights.
After reading their mission, it summarized in my own heart the primary reason why I, and many of our other members, got into the exotic business in the first place. Despite the challenges, despite the constant assault from all kinds of outside forces, there still exists in those of us who raise exotics a great passion and a love for our animals. For many individuals who are outside our business
and who have never lived the agricultural lifestyle which we have been so fortunate and privileged to experience, the mere thought of someone “Loving Animals” who also hunts, harvests and/or brings that same animal to market, is just beyond their comprehension. The idea of sustainability of animals through commerce in order to support the growth of that herd, simply cannot be without education.
This ignorance exists despite this country’s long history of utilizing hunting permit fees and taxes to support the conservation our native species through habitat preservation, research, law enforcement and regulations. Since we started managing wildlife in our country, it has been our hunters and fishermen who have carried the cost of our wildlife conservation. However, the majority of the public does not know nor does it understand what sustainable wildlife management is and why it works or how it is funded.
But I digress! Let’s get back to this incredible group of diverse and committed individuals with whom I had the privilege of recently meeting. Each of them came together from completely different backgrounds which, to name a few, include science and research, zoological professions, private industry, breeding operations and then there’s me—the guywith the breeding AND hunting operation. What I came to find out very early in our all day think tank was that this group was laser focused on one thing and one thing only and that was their mission. There would be no discussion of politics; no bemoaning our current situation relative to the anti-hunting crowd or public sentiment; no discussion of lawsuits by “Animal Conservation” groups who spend 100% of their money on attorneys’ fees filing lawsuits and not one single dime on animal welfare. This meeting was 100% about how we can form an alliance of like-minded people from different industries who are all passionate about saving wildlife. Together this newly formed alliance would develop a strategy to help protect, propagate and relocate endangered and extinct species back into their native habitats.
Just think of the possibilities of forming a group that stays the and actually delivers on this mission!!! Think of the power of being part of a larger alliance of like-minded people in a global effort of animal conservation which many of us have already been actively doing as stewards of wildlife on our own ranches!!!
Being part of what I think will become an international effort focused on rescuing our endangered, threatened and, in many cases, extinct populations would be incredible!!! The whole idea gets me pretty fired up and I would hope it does you as well. This is why I, along with a lot of other people much smarter than me, believe there is nothing we, as stewards of wildlife, can do that is more important than what we do every day to propagate and sustain these precious species for the planet and generations to come. The second most important thing we can do is to protect our right to save these animals by telling our story and educating the public of our mission. You see, when we tell the story of what we do and the way in which we do it, people begin to understand and to listen.
When both the facts and the results of our efforts support our successes in the saving of wildlife and in the growing of herds where others have failed, people start to pay attention. The fact that we are being asked by zoos, scientists, research facilities and conservation organizations to align our interests for the betterment of wildlife does in fact prove this.
These are not people who typically promote hunting or high fenced ranches and I would guess many of them are opposed to both at some level. And yet these same people put their feelings aside because they know the benefits to wildlife far outweigh any emotional reaction they may have to our methods. They understand that sustainability has a cost and that the harvest and sale of our excess animals is what allows us to support the rest of the herds. Our 47 year history of successfully breeding, hunting and trading in these rare and endangered species while, at the same time, expanding their numbers faster and better than anyone else on the planet is a testament that Conservation through Commerce works.
Be proud of the stewardship you and your family are providing these incredible animals and of the valuable services and benefits this stewardship is to the future of our children’s children as well as for our planet. I know I am.
Kevin L. Reid
Morani River Ranch