History of Exotic Wildlife in Texas
The Exotic Wildlife industry in Texas built its foundation on the basis of capitalism. The King Ranch was the first in Texas to acquire exotic wildlife for commercial purposes. They purchased the initial brood stock of nilgai antelope from the San Diego Zoological Garden in the late 1920s. The motive was to offset cattle price fluctuations. Nilgai have been a huge success. Today, the King Ranch alone, is home to approximately 12,000, with thousands more of these of these majestic animals on other Texas ranches.
In the early 1960s the curator of the San Antonio Zoo, Fred Stark, mentioned he had surplus animals. He suggested that Charlie Schreiner of the YO Ranch, take some of them to see how they would adapt. The first animals to arrive were blackbuck antelope and aoudad sheep. They successfully acclimated and were soon followed by axis deer. The motive for the acquisition was to breed the animals for conservation purposes. The effort was so successful that within a short time, animals were being sold to zoos while others were sent back to their native lands to replenish dwindling herds. Breeding was highly successful and eventually management was required to limit size of the herd. This transformed what started as an altruistic conservation project, into a source of cash flow for the ranch. Hunting exotics for profit became one of the primary sources of revenue for the ailing ranch during drought years. As the ranch prospered, other exotics were added to the property. All of which came from zoos. Fallow deer from England, sika deer from Japan, barasingha from India, and Pere David deer from China were all part of the menagerie. While many species were hunted, numerous others were not. They were there strictly for the conservation.
As the result of tremendous demand from private landowners all over the state, the industry has experienced significant growth over the last 50 years. Today there are thousands of ranches with exotics and more than 125 species found roaming properties within the state. This demand has kept the value of exotic wildlife on the increase for many years.
Below are links in a chronological order that show a time line for both the industry in Texas and in Africa. The growth for both Texas and Africa over the last 20 years is unrivaled both most industries across the globe and today continues to out produce many traditional investment vehicles such as stocks, bonds and mutual funds.
History in Texas
November 1981 – 51 Species of Exotics in the State
October 1988 – Turn to Exotic Species – Ranchers in Texas Hear Call of Wild – 120,000 animals on 370 ranches
April 1992 – Exotics in Texas – 486 ranches – 2,361,744 acres housing Exotics in Texas
May 2000 – Ranching of Exotic Big Game Species recognized as a profitable industry
April 2007 – Charlie Seale – Executive Director of the EWA “It’s a $300 Million industry and growing fast”
August 2007 – Texas A&M – Economic Impact of the Exotic Wildlife Industry = $1.3 Billion
June 2010 – 400,000 Exotics on high fenced ranches in Texas with 50,000 – 60,000 free ranging
February 2012 – Texas hunting ranchers fight for right to save African antelope species
March 2014 – Three Amigos Legislation – Ensures Breeding and Growth of African Antelopes
November 2014 – Stocking Exotics on Your Ranch – “Exotic livestock are a great investment and an exciting hobby”
September 2015 – Lands of America – “Exotics for Your Ranch”
February 2016 – Exotic animals have brought in new revenue….
March 2016 – An introduction to the Exotic WildLife Industry
History in Africa
June 1991 – The Game Theft Act of 1991 – Game Animals are now Private Property
May 2005 – Stud Game Breeders is Formed
September 2010 – Cyril Ramaphosa joins Stud Game Breeders
November 2010 – Norman Adami joins Stud Game Breeders
April 2012 – Wildlife prices too big for genes?
September 2012 – Buffalo bull fetches record R26 Million
March 2014 – A Bull Market of a Different Kind – new Record set
September 2014 – Cyril Ramaphosa in line of fire over profits from game farm
January 2015 – Buffalo Horns Worth Millions Lure South African Billionaires
February 2016 – World’s Most Expensive African Buffalo Valued at $11,100,000
September 2016 – Limpopo Buffalo Sells for R168 Million ($12,500,000)