Today the 12th annual African Wildlife Consultative Forum (AWCF) came to an end, and the attendees provided insight into Africa’s pressing wildlife policy and management issues.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Senior Wildlife Inspector Jay Pilgrim presented the details of President Obama’s Executive Order on combatting wildlife trafficking. The AWCF delegates expressed concern that Africa’s ideas and cooperation was not adequately included in the United States efforts to curb poaching and illegal wildlife trade, and will share these concerns in a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. The letter will include African government recommendations for consideration by the Executive Order’s Task Force and Advisory Council. It also suggests the Task Force reconsider the appointment of SCI Foundation to the Advisory Council, stating a resolution that SCI Foundation is to serves as formal liaison for African issues in the United States.
Wednesday’s discussions on the African lion spurred thought-provoking deliberations as the US Fish and Wildlife Service continues to decide if it will list the African lion as “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act. Two lion experts, Dr. Dennis Ikanda of the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute and Dr. Paula White of Zambia Lion Project presented to the delegates about their ongoing research and the status of the African lion. They also discussed their recent experiences of communicating lion expertise to Members of US Congress, the US Government and NGOs while in Washington DC in June and September. These efforts were in concert with providing decision makers with all the information necessary on lions, in order to prevent an unwarranted listing decision.
In response to these presentations, and following a presentation given by SCI Foundation on the Fighting for Lions campaign, the AWCF governments drafted a letter to Mr. Dan Ashe, Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The African governments wanted to express their concern that the United States did not properly consult African governments for information regarding the African lion as part of the United States led species status review. The status review is part of the process of considering the lion for listing as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. The letter also voiced disappointment that African governments were not involved or even invited to provide information to the USFWS at the June 2013 lion workshop that was held in Arlington, VA.
Reports from each country will be presented to close out the meeting. Through these presentations the delegates have the opportunity to show how their countries management and policies are benefitting conservation. SCI Foundation is proud to see that our efforts promote capacity building within the governments and continues to show the global importance of the hunting community. The Foundation looks forward to keeping our readers informed as new information develops.
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