How Did Thousands Of Freakin’ Oryx Wind Up North Of El Paso?
There is a lot of beautiful wildlife all over the the El Paso area. Onyx however, weren't on our initial basic wildlife "equipment" list. What happened?
A friend of mine once worked at White Sands Missile Range. Heading home to El Paso, near Chaparral, he struck an animal that totaled his truck and shook him up pretty good.
He got out to see what had bounded in front of him and for a second, thought he'd hit a unicorn. Fortunately, he hadn't had anything to make people question his sobriety or sanity. He also had the carcass to prove his story.
Obviously it wasn't a unicorn. This critter actually had 2 horns but one had been broken off by the impact. It was an Oryx, an animal that is NOT supposed to be in our 'hood.
That's what he hit though and he's not the only one to do so. The Oryx population has really taken off and collisions between them and cars have increased.
So, why are there Oryx here? I doubted that they moved here looking for work so, I did some research. Turns out New Mexico Fish and Game imported them from the Kalahari Desert
They wanted to establish an exotic animal population here, away from natural predators like lions to provide hunters with new game.
Well, it worked. The only large predators around southern New Mexico and far West Texas, are mountain lions and coyotes. Neither of which are very good at taking down a 6 foot long, 500 pound Oryx.
Being very resilient to germs, accustomed to having little water and without any lions around, the Oryx are thriving and they keep cranking out little Oryx's.
Between 1969 and 1977, the NM Fish & Game released 95 Oryx onto White Sands Missile Range. Today, they have branched out all over the Southern NM, West Texas desert and number in the thousands.
Annual hunts have been arranged since 1974 to try and control the Oryx population. Other than those hunters, the Oryx are pretty safe and living large.
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