Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Old McDonald had a...?

Here's an unusual sight I caught on the way home from a client meeting. The Scimitar Oryx once occupied the entire Sahara of Africa, but were hunted for their horns and are now considered extinct in the wild. The largest population--around 2,500--of this endangered species now live in our area's hills.

Before the adjoining ranch changed owners they used to graze along my fence. They seem like a docile lot, even though their horns look like good weapons. Occasionally I hear one off in the distance around sundown, a sound that can only be described as what I imagine would come out of the mouth of something being eaten alive. A sound that would make even a peacock's song sound soothing. I have grown used to it. But it tends to rattle our guests.

They are able to survive several weeks without water, so they must feel right at home here. I think the idea is they will one day be reintroduced to Africa. But as long as there is hunger people will eat them, endangered or not. Lucky for me, this herd was not too afraid when I stopped to photograph them.
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