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Roosevelt Collection Receives Sable Antelope Donation

For more than a decade, Paul Haczela has been donating animal specimens to ESF's Roosevelt Wild Life Collection.

"I've been hunting all around the world and I got the idea that I should be donating these animals rather than just looking at them," said Haczela, an avid hunter and 1957 graduate of Syracuse University.

A sable antelope collected from a ranch in South Africa is his most-recent donation. "This particular animal had to be culled because it was breeding with its sisters," explained Haczela.

The sable is a large, barrel-chested antelope with a short neck, long face and dark mane. Both male and female sables sport ringed horns.

Haczela, of Preston Hollow, New York, worked for his father after graduation and eventually took over the family automotive and hardware business. After 47 years, he changed careers to real estate.

"In all that time, my interest in hunting never waned," he said. "As long as I could get out and do it, I did."

"I've been hunting all around the world," Haczela said, noting he has been to locales such as New Zealand, Russia and Alaska.

An avid hunter, he has donated roughly 24 specimens to the ESF collection including some collected by his father. "The specimens play a role in teaching how wildlife can be sustainably used," said Ron Giegerich, instructional support specialist in the Department of Environmental and Forest Biology and manager of the Roosevelt Wild Life Collection. Among Haczela's donations is the bear that graces the Gateway Center which he collected in Russia.

"The hunting of game animals is part of managing species populations," said Giegerich. Additionally, the money generated from legal hunting supports conservation of the different species.

Haczela's latest safari adventure involved a piece of luck. He won the trip in a raffle at a benefit dinner for the Quality of Deer Management Association in La Belle, Florida. As the successful bidder, he secured a trip to Africa for four people (two observers and two hunters).

After the safari, Haczela took a side trip to Botswanna and Zimbabwe to see Victoria Falls. "It's one of the most beautiful things ever to see," he said.

The skins Haczela collects take a journey of their own before arriving at ESF. First they have to be tanned at Quick Tan, a South African company. From there, the skins are shipped to Kurt Fox Taxidermy in Cold Springs, New York. Fox has handled numerous skins for Haczela.

"I told him instead of trying to do this all at once, we'll do one a year," said Haczela. Other specimens in the queue include a blesbuck (a South African antelope), a zebra, an ostrich and a warthog.

Haczela expects ESF will receive a new animal each year. Not only will these donations increase the college's collection, "the specimens on display help tell the college's role in scientific study of vertebrates," said Giegerich, "and the role we play in wildlife conservation through proper management practices."