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

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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.