I would like to introduce you to an animal that you've probably never heard of. Please meet the African Scimitar Oryx:
The particular type of antelope is extinct in the wild. When I was a child they still lived in their native lands but were critically endangered. They are now gone except for zoos, a few conservation ranches in Africa and several game reserves in Texas. In fact, there are several thousand Scimitar Oryxes roaming around Texas on these reserves.
Previously, exotic animals like the oryx were exempt from the Endangered Species Act when raised on these game reserves. Hunting them as trophies generated big money for the ranchers. Now, thanks to a change in the law, those animals can no longer be hunted on the ranches.
When ranchers were generating revenue from these animals there was incentive to continue breeding and maintaining large herds of these antelope. Now that it is illegal to hunt them, do you think ranchers will continue to breed and maintain their herds? What does this mean for the future of the species? Will conservationism alone be enough to sustain the oryx?
Ten years from now it is entirely possible that this species will be gone. Billy might only get to read about them in science books or see video of this creature. They might be gone and he won't get to experience their majesty in person.
It's not just the oryx. There are so many other species that are on the brink. Conservation alone is not going to save them all. Money is the driving force in this world. So is it wrong for ranchers to make money on hunting a few of these animals in order to breed so many more?
In this case I think it is worth sacrificing a few to save the species so future generations can enjoy them too.
What do you think?