Congressional Amendment Threatens African Wildlife Conservation

Safari Club International strongly opposes Representative Vern Buchanan’s (R-FL-16) amendment to H.R. 3055, an appropriations rider which would prohibit the import of sport-hunted elephant and lion from Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

“We strongly oppose this legislative effort to interfere with heavily regulated and effectively managed hunting,” said SCI President Paul Babaz. “It has been proven time and time again that licensed, regulated hunting is crucially important to wildlife conservation in Africa. It secures five times more habitat than in national parks in Tanzania and almost three times more habitat than in national parks in Zambia and Zimbabwe.  It funds anti-poaching and government conservation programs.  And it incentivizes greater tolerance among rural people who live side-by-side with these species.”

The wildlife management authorities of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, the 183 Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) along with other scientific authorities credit licensed, regulated hunting as the cornerstone of successful conservation and wildlife management programs. As a result, these three countries are recognized by the IUCN as having some of the world’s largest populations of elephant and lion.

In response to previous calls like Rep. Buchanan’s to ban trophy imports, the IUCN published a briefing paper describing how hunting is a positive driver for conservation because it increases the value of wildlife and the habitats it depends on. More specifically, according to the IUCN:

“Well managed trophy hunting, which takes place in many parts of the world, can and does generate critically needed incentives and revenue for government, private and community landowners to maintain and restore wildlife as a land use and to carry out conservation actions (including anti-poaching interventions).  It can return much needed income, jobs, and other important economic and social benefits to indigenous and local communities in places where these benefits are often scarce.”

The IUCN went on to say that bans, like the one Mr. Buchanan has proposed, “are blunt instruments that risk undermining important benefits for both conservation and local livelihoods, thus exacerbating rather than addressing the prevailing major threats of habitat loss and poaching.”

“If Congress is serious about protecting the wildlife in Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe then they must not ignore the abundance of scientific evidence that highlights the clear positive relationship between big game hunting and successful conservation efforts,” SCI President Babaz said. “An effective ban on the import of elephant and lion trophies from these countries would be detrimental to their conservation efforts and harmful to these species.  If Congress truly wants to help wildlife, they should leave management to the experts, both here and abroad.”

Safari Club International – First For Hunters is the leader in protecting the freedom to hunt and in promoting wildlife conservation worldwide. SCI’s approximately 200 Chapters represent all 50 of the United States as well as 106 other countries. SCI’s proactive leadership in a host of cooperative wildlife conservation, outdoor education and humanitarian programs, with the SCI Foundation and other conservation groups, research institutions and government agencies, empowers sportsmen to be contributing community members and participants in sound wildlife management and conservation. Visit the home page www.SafariClub.org, or call (520) 620-1220 for more information.

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