Whatever the original misgivings of surrounding ranchers and the various departments of the federal establishment, young Mecom's terrestrial ark is working; in more than a year of operation there have been no diseases, few unnatural deaths and no escapes. The total herd has grown to 75 and includes animals from Africa, Europe, Asia and North and South America.
John Jr. has set no limits on the refuge. "We're prepared to double the size to 10,000 acres and take in any animals from any part of the world," he says. "If you asked me what my ultimate ambition is, it would be to have every species of game in the world living here and reproducing. I can even see the day when animals from our ranch would be used to replenish species that have been wiped out in other places. I know that sounds ambitious, but I always try to make my ideas work out. I mean this all seriously."
Indeed, he does, and down around Houston you will find nobody who laughs at Little John's ideas, whether vehicular, zoological or otherwise. As a close friend of the family sums it up: "If Little John woke up and announced one morning that he was gonna dig a great big lake and stock it with mermaids, you know what everybody'd do? They'd go out and buy binoculars." To date, John Mecom Jr. has announced no such plans. But if you go to Houston and somebody offers you a good buy on a pair of binoculars, don't pass it up.