Leaders of Conservation: SCI Foundation President Joe Hosmer

This week I talked to SCI Foundation President Joe Hosmer about his work with the argali sheep and his vision for the future of his organization.

This week I talked to SCI Foundation President Joe Hosmer about his work with the argali sheep and his vision for the future of his organization.

This interview with Safari Club International Foundation President Joe Hosmer is part of OutdoorHub’s Leaders of Conservation series, in which we sit down with leaders of the North American conservation movement to learn more about the stories behind their organizations and people.

In 1972, two safari clubs—one in Los Angeles and one in Chicago—decided to join up and create Safari Club International (SCI). Over the next four decades, SCI reached out to independent safari clubs across the globe to combine sportsmen in an unified organization. Many people think it was during this time that the Safari Club International Foundation, the conservation branch of SCI, split off from the original organization. Joe Hosmer, president of the SCI Foundation, said that’s not exactly accurate.

“SCI Foundation is the original entity,” Joe shared. “We later created another organization which we also gave the name Safari Club International, and the original club became SCI Foundation.”

The problem of having similar names is that, of course, many people tend to get the groups mixed up. But the goals behind the organizations are self-evident.

“That is the easiest question we get,” Joe said.”SCI is ‘First for Hunters’ while SCI Foundation is ‘First for Wildlife.’ The Foundation is the other half of the equation, and our mission is wildlife and wildlife conservation.”

Although they are different legal entities, Joe said the partnership between the two groups is a harmonious one.

“You’re not going to have hunters unless you have wildlife and you’re not going to have wildlife unless you have good conservation practices.”

Joe is a 15-year veteran of SCI Foundation, spending 10 of those years in the group’s conservation committee. To many, Joe was the obvious choice when he was selected as the Foundation’s president in late 2010. A lifelong hunter and conservationist, Joe also brought the skills he learned from a successful career in the telephone industry.

“It began many, many years ago when I got out of college,” Joe started with a chuckle.

He had followed in his father’s footsteps and went into telecommunications, rising through the ranks and ending up in places like Central America and West Africa as a design and engineering contractor. While training personnel in Liberia, Joe decided to start his own company.

“Twenty-eight or 29 years later, that little corporation had 500 engineers on each continent,” Joe said.

He eventually traded the corporate office for fieldwork.

“At an SCI meeting I raised my hand one time and said, ‘Jeez guys, I sold my company so I got a little time on my hands. Is there anything I can do to help?’ Somebody asked me if I did a lot of work overseas and I said yup. They asked me if I was used to dealing with foreign governments and protocols and I said yup again.

“The next thing I know my wife’s telling me I was away from home almost more than I was at home. I was traveling all over for SCI over wildlife issues, conferring with experts and biologists.”

The home of the argali can be as beautiful as it is remote.

When he was the Foundation’s Conservation Chairman, Joe and Dr. Bill Moritz led field teams to Tajikistan for sheep surveys in early 2010. The Foundation’s focus was on the region’s argali sheep, also known as Marco Polo sheep. Driving Toyota Land Cruisers at an elevation of 17,000 feet, the team conducted sheep counts and calving studies in partnership with the Tajik government. Due to decades of wild sheep management, Tajikistan has the world’s highest concentration of argali sheep and a remarkably stable population. A significant portion of the conservation funds used to protect these animals from threats like poaching or habitat loss comes directly from hunters. However, Tajikistan halted hunting of the animals in 2008 and 2009 despite a minimum population of 24,000 wild sheep. Ironically, this move threatened to remove the protections that the argali sheep enjoyed.

“The establishment of game management areas that provide trophy animals have ensured the survival of wild sheep and other mountain wildlife,” wrote sheep expert Dr. Raul Valdez, who accompanied the SCI field teams. “In these areas, wild sheep are protected from illegal hunting and domestic sheep are managed in coordination with wild sheep to avoid overexploitation of the forage resource.”

As a result of the SCI Foundation team’s surveys, the Tajik government reallowed hunting of the argali sheep.

“That was one of my fondest successes,” Joe said.

For the last three years, the Foundation has sent teams to Tajikistan twice a year to ensure the health of the argali sheep. With 60 landmark conservation projects, Joe intends to lead the Foundation through one success at a time.

Tajikistan's wilds contain the world's largest population of Argali sheep.

“One of my goals for the SCI Foundation is for the organization to mature to the point where it will be recognized as the leader of the hunting community and sustainable wildlife conservation,” Joe shared. “It’s a lofty goal, but it’s one we find ourselves closer and closer to every day.”

But he still finds time to travel and hunt. Later this year Joe will be returning to the high altitudes of Central Asia, but his vehicle of choice will be a little bit different than the last time he went.

“In addition to being an avid hunter and conservationist, I’m also an enthusiastic motorcyclist. I have the opportunity to travel to the Himalayas for three weeks this May, so I’ll be crossing the mountains on a Triumph motorcycle.”

And this time, he won’t have to count sheep.

We would like to thank Joe for taking the time to talk with us. 

Images courtesy Joe Hosmer

Daniel Xu +

 

| April 17, 2014 | Originally posted: http://www.outdoorhub.com/stories/leaders-conservation-sci-foundation-president-joe-hosmer/

Letter On Behalf of AWCF Participating Nations:

Letter sent to: Sally Jewell, John Kerry, Eric Holder

Cc’ed: Barack Obama, Susan Rice, Michelle Gavin, Douglas Griffiths, Wanda Nesbitt, Patrick Gaspard, Alfonso Lenhardt, Mark Storella, Charles Ray, Machivenyika Mapuranga, Palan Mulonda, Liberata Mulamula, Ebrahim Rasool, Martin Andjaba, Amelia Matos Sumbana, Tebeleo Mazile Serestse.

“…. In conclusion, we urge the implementation of the Executive Order to incorporate a formal plan for strong cooperation and collaboration with African countries to better leverage and allocate resources throughout the world on the poaching crisis.

Respectfully,

Joseph H. Hosmer, President

Safari Club International Foundation

On behalf of the 12th Annual African Wildlife Consultative Forum attended by the representatives of the following countries:

Botswana

Ethiopia

Mozambique

Namibia

South Africa

Swaziland

Tanzania

Zambia

Zimbabwe …”

 

READ THE FULL LETTER!

Letter On Behalf of AWCF Participating Nations

African Conservation Leaders Deliver Strong Message to U.S. Government

Last week, Safari Club International Foundation held its 12th annual African Wildlife Consultative Forum (AWCF) in Livingstone, Zambia. Conservation leaders attending included wildlife management authorities from the nine African counties of Botswana, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, as well as representatives from the safari industry, NGO and wildlife science sectors.

The government representatives attending the AWCF delivered this week a letter to the Co-Chairs of the Presidential Task Force on Wildlife Trafficking, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Attorney General Eric Holder. The letter presents their recommendations for the implementation of President Barack Obama’s Executive Order Combatting Wildlife Trafficking.  The letter recommends that the Task Force appoint Safari Club International Foundation to its Advisory Council to act as a liaison for the African governments who are the principle agents for conserving wildlife on their continent.

“It is distressing that Africa’s governments were not included or even consulted on the U.S. government’s new Task Force to stop poaching. This policy decision of the U.S. government directly affects Africa’s communities, wildlife, and economies. To ignore these countries is an obvious misstep that needs to be rectified,” SCI Foundation President Joe Hosmer said.

During the forum, presentations on the global importance of hunting and tourism were made to the AWCF attendees. This spurred great interest on the part of both the African governments and the African professional hunters associations to embark on a socio-economic review of consumptive and non-consumptive tourism in Africa. SCI Foundation will assist in funding and managing this economic review.

The Operators and Professional Hunters Associations of Southern Africa have also sent a letter to the Task Force explaining their integral role in Africa’s wildlife management, and requesting official participation in implementation of the Executive Order. From anti-poaching patrols on land areas that are 22% larger than all the national parks of Africa, to employment opportunities for local individuals, to infrastructure projects that improve the livelihoods of the community where they work and live, the role of the outfitters and professional hunters of the safari business are inextricably linked to the sustainability of Africa’s wildlife.

“The AWCF is successful because it gives African governments, conservation professionals, and professional guides a platform to generate consensus on critical policy issues that are otherwise often made without their input. SCI Foundation is prepared to be the liaison for Africa’s nations, communities, and its future by working directly with the U.S. government to end poaching,” Hosmer concluded.

Letter On Behalf of AWCF Participating Nations: http://wp.me/p2AKuX-f9

Letter On Behalf of Operators and Professional Hunters Associations:http://wp.me/p2AKuX-fh

12th Annual African Wildlife Consultative Form Wrap-up

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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.

 

Follow JOE HOSMER on TWITTER @JoeHosmer, INSTAGRAM, AND FACEBOOK!

SCI Foundation Anti-Poaching Program

cropped-2sci-foundation-logo.jpg

 

The indiscriminate poaching of wildlife species is a crime around the world.  Too often the name of “hunter” is attached to the abhorrent acts of poaching. As ardenthunter-conservationists this could not be further from the truth.  In fact, as a group,hunters help pave the way for responsible wildlife management by paying their way and adhering to game regulations.  Whether it is the quail hunter in Texas or the Cape buffalo hunter in Africa, hunters shoulder a significant amount of the funding needed to help manage healthy wildlife populations.

Each year, SCI Foundation provides additional funding and expertise to help combat corruption and poaching–especially in Africa.  Yet, much remains to be done to make a larger positive impact and see the trend reversed.  Collaboration and sharing resources is critical to improve the plight of many species.

antipoaching

Safari Club International Foundation (SCI Foundation) has….

  • Awarded multiple grants to land conservancies in Southern Africa that serve as important reserves for rhinoceros including Savé Valley (Lowveld) Conservancy and Bubye Valley Conservancy.
  • Provided over $80,000 over the last several years to fund rangers, aircraft, trail cameras, telemetry equipment and other tools to combat the increase in poaching in Tanzania, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
  • Allocated $25,000 to Chiredzi River Conservancy to promote its anti-poaching activities through the deployment of Game Scouts (anti-poaching rangers) that patrol the conservancy.
  • Empowered the Friedkin Conservation Fund (Tanzania) to conduct surveillance flights with microlight aircraft ($25,000). The microlight covers more than 9 million acres of protected areas.
  • Partnered with The WILD Foundation since 2011 to fight rhino poaching in South Africa through the Rhino Informant Incentive Fund (RIIF). $5,000 was designated as the start-up capital for the program.
  • Worked with StealthCam and Boyt Harness Company to deliver 30 trail cameras to the Tanzanian Government for protected area surveillance.

     tanzaniacameras

SCI Foundation is currently investigating new partnerships to bring advanced drone technology to track illegal activity in Africa and employ scent-detection dogs in the apprehension of illegal wildlife traffickers smuggling items like ivory and horn. Furthermore, collaboration is needed to break down the demand for illicit wildlife parts through public education and outreach.

Please consider making a contribution to SCI Foundation so that anti-poaching initiatives can be bolstered to combat poachers throughout the continent. Help our organization leverage your dollars for larger grants to combat poaching in Africa.

The Safari Club International Foundation (SCIF) and partners are working to advance sound, science-based management of wildlife resources worldwide. SCI Foundation’s Conservation Committee invites you to attend our wildlife conservation-related seminars at the 2013 Safari Club International Convention featuring North American, African and Asian species.  Learn about new ways international hunters are contributing to science-based conservation worldwide. Check out the topics below, spread the word and then drop by and join the discussion! See you in Reno!

Seminars

SCI Foundation Augments Support For AWCF At Embassy Reception

August 13, 2012 – The Embassy of Botswana hosted Safari Club International Foundation (SCI Foundation) and the International Conservation Caucus Foundation (ICCF) for a reception of international Ambassadors and conservationists. The event highlighted the importance of the upcoming African Wildlife Consultative Forum (AWCF) to be hosted in Botswana September 16th through 21st. AWCF brings together the most influential countries in sub-Saharan Africa for a week-long forum discussing wide ranging wildlife management, conservation, and sustainable-use priorities. AWCF provides the only annual opportunity for each country to compare common approaches to the future management of their wildlife resources. SCI Foundation is proud to be the prime catalyst and support base for this invaluable forum to ensure that sustainable use conservation and hunting remain a management priority within each country. The Honorable Ms. Tebelelo Seretse, Ambassador of Botswana, expressed her gratitude to both SCI Foundation and ICCF for the important roles they play in education of broader audiences on all wildlife conservation challenges. SCI Foundation President Joe Hosmer addressed the nearly 100 attendees highlighting the constant demand for conservation incentives to spur economic stability, and SCI Foundation’s anti-poaching projects in Tanzania. SCI Foundation has worked with regional partners to who operate two microlight aircraft to patrol millions of acres to reduce wildlife poaching; it has been very successful. SCI Foundation presented a framed giclee of two battling elephants by acclaimed wildlife artist Brian Jarvi to Ambassador Seretse.

“We would like to thank the Embassy for hosting us tonight and, more importantly, to thank Botswana for hosting the 2012 African Wildlife Consultative Forum. We look forward to Botswana’s continued involvement with AWCF and to continued collaborations on wildlife conservation projects between SCI Foundation and all the nations of Southern Africa,” concluded Hosmer.

To learn more about the African Wildlife Consultative Forum please visit SCI Foundation’s website:http://www.safariclubfoundation.org/content/index.cfm?action=view&content_id=2380.

SCI Foundation Contributes $537,590 To Worldwide Wildlife Conservation Projects Over Last 6 Months!

 

All Media: For Immediate Release
SCI Foundation Contributes $537,590 To Worldwide Wildlife Conservation Projects Over Last 6 Months
Washington, DC – Safari Club International Foundation (SCI Foundation) announced today that it has contributed $537,590 in the past six months to fund worldwide wildlife conservation projects. SCI Foundation strategically focuses funding towards research and management of large predators and their prey, including game species, principally throughout North America, Asia, and Southern Africa.
“The research programs selected by SCI Foundation’s professional biologists inform wildlife managers and policy makers on critical wildlife management needs worldwide,” said SCI Foundation President Joe Hosmer.  “SCI Foundation strives to ensure management decisions are based on the best available science.”
SCI Foundation donated $350,000 to fund multiple predator/prey projects in the U.S. and Canada. Conservation projects include Predator/Prey studies observing rates of white-tailed deer fawn survival in Michigan and Wisconsin, elk survival in Montana, and caribou survival in Newfoundland. The results of these projects will help properly manage both predators and prey in systems where both exist. Donations were also made to wildlife population research and enhancement programs including mule deer in the Eastern Mojave Desert, brown bears on Kodiak Island, black bears in Missouri, and moose in Alaska, among others.
The most recent project is a partnership with Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Kenai Moose Project. SCI Foundation donated $20,000 to learn productivity and seasonal mortality of moose.
In multiple African nations, SCI Foundation has given over $123,000 to wildlife conservation and human-wildlife conflict programs. Most recently, SCI Foundation donated $30,000 for the upcoming African Wildlife Consultative Forum, which will be held in Botswana.
SCI Foundation also continues to fund lion research in Zambia to improve the accuracy of aging lions in their natural environment. Being able to accurately age lions in the field will assist range states develop appropriate lion harvest regulations to ensure sustainability.
“Throughout the year, SCI Foundation contributes over one million dollars to wildlife research, management, and anti-poaching programs. As an international organization, SCI Foundation continues to increase our financial impact for sustainable-use conservation and we hope more organizations can follow our lead,” concluded Hosmer.
Below is a partial list of contributions to wildlife species made over the last 6 months:
Lion (Southern Africa) — $30,000
Elephant (Zimbabwe) — $25,200
Leopard (Zimbabwe, Namibia) — $18,000
Wildlife Genetics (Africa) — $20,000
Brown Bear (Alaska) — $50,000
Black Bear (Missouri) — $25,000
Elk (Montana. & Ontario)–$69,800
White-tailed deer (Mich. & Wisc.)–$75,000
Mule Deer (Calif. & Colorado)–$40,880
Moose (Alaska) –$33,500
Caribou (Newfoundland) — $8,550
Bighorn Sheep (Mont. & Wyo.) — $31,500
Dall Sheep (Alaska) — $5,000
Predator ID Manual (Intl) — $10,000
Conservation Matching Grants — $8,000
African Wildlife Forum — $30,000
Contact:
Nelson Freeman; media@safariclub.org
# # #
The SCI Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization that funds and manages worldwide programs dedicated to wildlife conservation, outdoor education and humanitarian services, including such programs as Sportsmen Against Hunger, Sensory Safari, Safari Care, Disabled Hunter, the American Wilderness Leadership School, Becoming an Outdoors Woman & More and Youth Education Seminars (YES) Outdoors. Call 877-877-3265 or visit www.sci-foundation.org for more information.

Joe’s speech in DC – Greatest Wildlife Recovery Story Ever Told

The Greatest Wildlife Recovery Story Ever Told:
How Conservation is Creating Prosperity and Stability in Rural Namibia

U.S. Congressional Briefing
Featuring Digu Naobeb. CEO of the Namibian Tourism Board, and speakers from WWF and the Safari Club International Foundation

Tuesday, February 28, 2012 – 10:00 am -11:00 am

Room H-137
U.S. Capitol Building

Speech, as it was prepared. It was however presented with several tangents and twists…

Joe

 

Good morning, my name is Joe Hosmer, and I am delighted to speak on behalf of the hunter-conservationist community today. I serve as the president of Safari Club International Foundation (SCIF) and am a lifelong hunter. I am proud to be able to join the Honorable Minister and Mr. Dillon to share the story of Namibian wildlife recovery and how international hunting has been central to developing sustainable income for rural communities. SCIF commends the success of wildlife management programs in Namibia, and we are working to apply them to other countries that are struggling to modernize their own wildlife conservation policies.

First, I would like to tell you a little bit about our Foundation. Safari Club International Foundation is the charitable arm of Safari Club International. SCIF’s missions include promoting and funding wildlife conservation, outdoor education, and humanitarian services. Currently, we have over 60 ongoing conservation research projects. Over the past decade, SCIF has contributed over $50 million to advance global wildlife conservation. SCIF has worked tirelessly to increase wildlife management capabilities throughout Southern and Eastern Africa through strategic partnerships with African nations and conservation NGOs. In Namibia, for instance, SCIF is working with the government to obtain the best science available regarding the population status of leopards.

Safari Club International Foundation has also awarded multiple grants to land conservancies in Southern Africa that serve as important reserves for black rhinoceros and other wildlife. Since 2008, an increase in rhino poaching has been reported in southern Africa and SCIF has responded by providing over $80,000 to fund rangers, aircraft, trail cameras, telemetry equipment and other tools to combat the increase in poaching. Collaborative efforts among conservation organizations and the hunting industry are using hunter-generated revenue to successfully prevent poaching. Ensuring that animals harvested lawfully do not enter the illegal trade and tarnish the reputation of legitimate conservationists is a major consideration of SCIF. Poachers and smugglers should not benefit from the dedicated work of conservationists by skimming the gains made after decades of investment in conservation.

The largest of SCIF’s programs in Africa is the African Wildlife Consultative Forum (AWCF). SCIF hopes that this cooperative forum will help spread the Namibian successes in wildlife conservation to the rest of Africa. AWCF is an annual forum that convenes delegates from most of the sub-Saharan African governments for a week-long discussion on wildlife management, conservation, and hunting priorities. The forum provides an opportunity for these countries to come together to compare problems and develop common approaches to future management of their wildlife resources. Over fifty participants attended the 2011 AWCF in Swaziland. Contributors included wildlife professionals, regulatory officials, and representatives of the hunting industry. By providing the forum for wildlife professionals across Africa to discuss successful management approaches SCIF believes that best practices can be shared amongst partners and the success of sustainable-use hunting will spread across Africa.

Over the past decade, the AWCF annual meetings have included major themes in African wildlife management. Human-wildlife conflict, wildlife population management, predator-prey interactions, habitat use, hunting regulations, and anti-poaching campaigns have all been central to the Forum. Key topics at the most recent meeting included rhinoceros conservation, leopard population status, lion management. Attendees also heard reports on current policies and regulations for each country present.

One of the most critical issues addressed in the 2011 AWCF was the landmark agreement to organize and support the collection of current lion census data from all of the range state nations. The attending government entities agreed to fully cooperate to address the ambitious deadlines set for the CITES Periodic Review of the African lion. The Periodic Review will use the best science available to determine if lions are appropriately listed in the CITES Appendices.

Enhancing wildlife management in Africa is only part of the solution, and cannot succeed in a vacuum. The success of the sustainable wildlife conservation program hinges on the dedicated funding that international hunters provide to these communities. Hunting has funded the enhancement of many species around the world, including a long list we are all fond of here in North America (elk, white-tailed deer, wood duck, wild turkey, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, bison and more). It is the license fees and taxes on hunting gear that fund conservation in the United States, and international hunters provide the same steady revenue stream to African communities.

International hunting has been one of the main economic engines in rural communities. In many countries of southern Africa, agrarian or pastoral economies cannot flourish, due to limited land suitable for agriculture or grazing. In these areas, regulated hunting has been a consistent form of revenue for local communities. To take better advantage of sustainable wildlife use, many governments have begun Community Based Natural Resources Programs. These programs, in essence, devolve power from the central government so that locally created community councils can regulate and manage wildlife in their areas. Their mission is to utilize wildlife so that it remains a sustainable resource.

These communal programs have been successful because they effectively create a financial incentive for the rural communities to actively conserve wildlife. Revenue retention rules ensure that money generated from sport hunting ends up in the hands of indigenous people. In the case of international hunting in southern Africa, communities in the most rural areas of countries reap the benefit of conserving wildlife through Community Based Natural Resource Programs.

Creating this incentive to coexist with wildlife has been a central reason why so many populations of species are now thriving. The growing population of white rhino has been one of the most notable success stories. Namibia has been the leader in this area with I believe zero rhino poaching in the last two years. It is not terribly surprising that in countries like Kenya, where wildlife utilization by indigenous people is extremely limited and where hunting does not exist, wildlife population levels are now low and in continuous decline. Hunting was banned in Kenya in1977 and this ban has resulted in an accelerated loss of wildlife due to the removal of incentives for conservation (Baker 1997; Lewis & Jackson 2005).

SCIF’s sister organization, Safari Club International (SCI) recently held its annual Hunter’s Convention where over 2,200 outfitters came together and raised $16 million dollars, a substantial portion of which will contribute to international wildlife conservation. Many of these outfitters booked trips to Africa that will support these community based conservation programs, build value into these wildlife and support these rural economies.

I would like to leave you with just a few thoughts about how you can help. One way is to continue to fund programs such as Namibia’s LIFE program at high levels moving forward. The LIFE program is funded by USAID and has been central to building community based natural resource management in Namibia. Programs that promote sustainable-use conservation such as the LIFE program are not just aid, but an investment that helps build a self-sustaining rural economy while creating community incentives to protect these treasured species.

There Is yet another key component to the success of sustainable-use conservation where more work is needed — reducing regulatory burdens. Often times international hunters are faced with obstacles at the U.S. border. Sometimes it is a problem with bringing a favorite hunting rifle with them on their hunt. More frequently, it is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stopping a hunter from bring their legally harvested animal back in to the U.S. These barriers discourage hunters from travelling, reduce the value of overseas wildlife and take much needed dollars out of rural African communities. It is vital that the United State modernize the border process for wildlife so that millions of dollars of African conservation dollars are not lost because of over-zealous wildlife inspectors and byzantine regulations. Over the 20th Century, hunters brought back the great herds of the United States through their funding of conservation. All we ask is that the U.S. government helps hunters do the same in Africa.

Thank You.

Taking Action Against Poaching!

Taking Action Against Rhino Poaching: The Safari Club International Foundation
by OUTDOOR HUB REPORTERS on FEBRUARY 24, 2012
submitted by: AGNIESZKA SPIESZNY – Original post.

It’s become a hot-button issue since the price of rhinoceros horn increased. Poachers are scrambling to deliver the valuable product where demand is high. The rhino was a nearly extinct species in Africa one century ago, but through intense conservation efforts its population flourished.

Now in 2012, the rhinoceros has been hunted to extinction in Vietnam and now buyers are paying a high price for the horn that they believe cures cancer. It is estimated that there is one rhino killed for its horn every 18 hours in Africa. Last year, there were almost 450 rhinos killed. That number has skyrocketed considering that there were only about 15 rhinos killed per year in previous years when the price of the horn was lower.

Safari Club International Foundation President Joe Hosmer vehemently opposes the poaching. “I believe it to be absolutely horrendous,” Hosmer said. The SCI Foundation (SCIF) is battling the issue throughout the entire African continent at the governmental level.

SCIF has an office in Pretoria, South Africa where they are able to monitor all rhino activity on a routine basis. Their main objective is to make sure each country involved knows what other countries are doing. “If there are known poachers in an area we make sure to send out a warning.”

Current operations

In partnership with the Friedkin Conservation Fund, SCIF has acquired a micro-light (or ultra-light) hang-glider which runs daily patrols over thousands of acres of rhino habitat. If suspicious activity is spotted, the pilot will get GPS coordinates of the location and then a ground crew that is associated with the government will go in to investigate.

So far, with the help of SCIF, Swaziland tells one of the most successful anti-poaching stories. The country has only had three rhinos poached, but in turn has shot three poachers who opened fire on rangers who caught the three men.

Hosmer said there have been plenty more poachers already stopped, although efforts are far from over. Facilities in Zimbabwe continue to monitor a number of rhinoceros that were moved from a park to a confined area where they are physically guarded until the issue is resolved.

The issue is taken on one day at a time. Just recently rhino poaching received more national attention through a report on NBC’s “Rock Center with Brian Williams”. Below is a clip of the segment. A link to all the segments is available on Hosmer’s blog.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640