Oryx first appeared long before conservation science was recognized as a scientific discipline and for 65 years it was the only journal that published material concerned with international wildlife conservation. The Society for the Preservation of the Wild Fauna of the Empire, as Fauna & Flora International was then known, published the first issue of its Journal in 1904, the year following its formation. The Journal of the Society for the Preservation of the Wild Fauna of the Empire originated as little more than an in-house logbook in which the society recorded its members’ conservation concerns, aspirations and activities, and the minutes of meetings.
The Journal evolved into a more comprehensive publication that incorporated contributions not only from the Society’s own members but also from others with an interest in conservation. Authors of articles believed that conservation mattered, they wanted to disseminate information and they wanted something to be done about particular conservation problems.
As well as being the only place for early conservationists to publish articles, the Journal also served as the only regular source of conservation news. Its Editorial Notes section, now Conservation News and Briefly, recorded the establishment of new nature reserves, status of species, enactment of conservation legislation, appointments of game wardens, and the result of the Society’s conservation endeavours in many parts of the globe.
After passing through several variations of its original name, the journal become Oryx, with volume 1 published in 1950. In 1983, with a new format and design, its first Editorial Board and a systematic peer review process, Oryx—The International Journal of Conservation was relaunched as a quarterly academic journal.
If you would like to find out more about the fascinating story of Fauna & Flora International and Oryx, you may find the book With Honourable Intent of great interest.