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

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Olympic medalist Corey Cogdell and world-renowned shooting instructor Chris Batha will be among the celebrity guests of the Second Annual SCI Foundation & Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Sporting Clays Fundraiser occurring Feb. 4, 2014. All the events proceeds benefit the youth education programs of both SCI Foundation and BSA.

“I’m a hunter, and I have experienced first-hand the positive impact that SCI Foundation’s outreach programs have for getting more young adults into our sport,” said Olympic medalist Corey Cogdell. “And additional thanks go to Krieghoff International, who is a committed corporate partner, dedicated to seeing our outdoor heritage passed on to the next generation.”

Chris Batha shares Cogdell’s enthusiasm for the event and the programs it supports.

“The Boy Scouts and sporting clays are both traditions that were started in the U.K.,” said Batha. “It only seems fitting that even in modern times these skill development activities unite to raise awareness and funds for our traditional outdoor and sporting pursuits.”

The Boy Scouts of America and SCI Foundation promotes education worldwide and has donated generously in support of its respective projects and programs.

“Our goal at SCI Foundation is to deliver high quality results for youth education and outreach on hunting and sustainable-use. It would not be possible without the amazing support of Krieghoff, Corey, and Chris who are true ambassadors for all hunters worldwide. Please join us for the Second Annual SCI Foundation and BSA Sporting Clays Fundraiser on Feb. 4, 2014,” concluded SCI Foundation President Joe Hosmer.

Krieghoff International has donated a new Krieghoff K-80 Pro Sporter over/under, 12 gauge shotgun with 32-inch barrels for the event.  A sweepstakes drawing for the gun will be one of the highlights of the Second Annual SCI Foundation & BSAF Sporting Clays Fundraiser. Every shooter who registers for the competition will receive one ticket to the drawing, with additional tickets available for $100 apiece. A maximum of 300 tickets will be sold, so register soon to secure your spot for February 4th.

To make your reservation contact Kimberly Byers at the SCI Foundation Headquarters at (520) 620-1220, ext. 322 or email to kbyers@safariclub.org

MEDIA CONTACT: Nelson Freeman; Nfreeman@safariclub.org

Safari Club International Foundation (SCI Foundation) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that funds and manages worldwide programs dedicated to wildlife conservation, and outdoor education. Since 2000, SCIF has provided over $50 million to these causes around the world.

Visit the SCI Foundation’s website at www.safariclubfoundation.org for more information on how you can contribute to international conservation.

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Join SCI Foundation on Twitter: http://twitter.com/SCIFoundation

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

Safari Club International Foundation To Testify Before House Committee

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Chairman to Highlight Hunting’s Role in Conservation

 
Washington, DC – On Tuesday, June 19, 2012, Safari Club International Foundation (SCI Foundation) Chairman of Conservation & SCI Vice-President, Dr. Al Maki, will testify before the Space, Science, and Technology Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight. The hearing will cover “The Science of How Hunting Assists Species Conservation and Management.”
 
The hearing will seek to highlight the role that sportsmen and women play in wildlife conservation, both domestically and internationally. Dr. Maki will highlight how the Endangered Species Act (ESA) works against hunters and their conservation efforts. He will speak on this issue from the standpoint of both a professional biologist and an avid hunter and conservationist.
 
“Government regulations, whether they are a part of the Endangered Species Act or supported by anti-hunting bureaucrats, should not impede conservation funding,” said Dr. Maki. “Hunters have provided too many resources in the form of excise taxes, license sales, and volunteering with organizations like SCI just to be casually overlooked by policy makers.”
 
Hunters and anglers have voluntarily contributed over $10 billion dollars to conservation efforts through excise taxes alone since the 1937 inception of the Pittman-Robertson Act. They have been, and remain to be, the largest advocates of wildlife conservation. However, their efforts have been largely impeded due to the framework of the ESA.
 
The Fish and Wildlife Service and environmental groups have used the ESA to prevent the use of hunting as a conservation measure. Dr. Maki will present several examples of the ESA’s inefficiency, including how the Act harms species enhancement within the United States and beyond.
 
“We greatly appreciate Congressman Broun and the entire subcommittee’s dedication to address government actions that continually undermine hunter engagement in the conservation of our nation’s wildlife,” concluded Maki.

HUNTING IN BOTSWANA – To Continue!

HUNTING IN BOTSWANA – STATEMENT TO VALUED CLIENTS, AGENTS AND FRIENDS

Over the last 5 years, Botswana’s trophy hunting industry has been subjected to some extensive changes to areas available for hunting, and changes in land use in other areas where photographic and hunting operations have been combined – these changes have given rise to much speculation amongst the international hunting fraternity:  the Botswana Wildlife Management Association wishes to confirm that from the end of this year big game hunting will continue in the following concessions:

Butler & Holbrow Safaris / Chobe Enclave CH1/2 – end of 2013

Calitz Hunting Safaris / Mababe NG 41 – end of 2017

In spite of draconian cuts in quota for other species, elephant remain the flagship species in Botswana and sustainable offtake of this species will continue under the guidance and direction of the Botswana Government.  Recent aerial surveys conducted by independent researchers, in collaboration with Government and the Association, have determined that the Botswana elephant population is stable and in some parts of the country are considered locally over-abundant.   The Special Elephant Quota, which is auctioned annually to industry members and stakeholders, will continue in select areas for the benefit of local communities and for elephant conservation and management as a whole.  Private research on tusk weights/population distribution and densities, supported by outfitters, is ongoing and will continue to inform Botswana’s wildlife Management Authority. 

 Assurances have been made to the industry by senior members of Government during the course of the last five years that elephant hunting will continue in Botswana; in the meantime, outfitters remain committed to ongoing discussion and consultation with Government to determine the way forward.  Hunting on game ranches is unchanged.  Please contact your safari outfitter or the Botswana Wildlife Management Association (botswanawildlife@yahoo.com or debbie@mochaba.net) for any further information or confirmation you may require.

The Botswana Wildlife Management Association

Private Bag 098   Maun    Botswana   Tel:  + 267 6862 671   Fax:  + 267 6862671

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

Hosmer’s speech at the 2011 African Wildlife Consultative Forum (AWCF) held in Swaziland.

Good morning everyone. My name is Joseph Hosmer. Over the past year, you will have noticed some changes to Safari Club International Foundation, we have improved our focus to make the Foundation an institution devoted exclusively on our core missions of science based wildlife research, improving wildlife conservation education, and increasing on the ground efforts for our humanitarian work. I am quite humbled to continue serving as the President of the Safari Club International Foundation.

First, I would like to thank everyone for joining us for the 10th African Wildlife Consultative Forum. This year we have representatives from the countries of Botswana, Ethiopia, Namibia, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe; seven NGOs and scientific bodies; and representatives from seven professional hunter associations. The AWCF has grown significantly in 10 years, and we are looking forward to investing in this meeting for the next 10. We hope that throughout the coming year, you are able to discuss the importance of the AWCF with your colleagues who could not join us this year. By increasing participation annually, we can increase the effectiveness of our work improving wildlife conservation and management. However our work must continue if we are to build on our past successes.

Africa continues to face great challenges in wildlife conservation. Human population growth and consequent loss of wildlife habitats will be a continual problem – globally – but especially in Africa. This is because Africa still has much undeveloped space and unexploited natural resources that will be of greater and greater value to both wildlife and humans. More urgently, the world is begging for a solution to put an end to rhinoceros poaching and illicit trade of elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn. In the past year we have seen dramatic increases in anti-poaching and enforcement efforts, but the problems remain. Perhaps today we will have some creative ideas shared to help us find solutions to the problem.

I want to discuss with you today, and also throughout this week, how SCIF can become a resource for you, so that together, we can improve wildlife conservation in your countries and improve relations with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Over the past 10 years that we have gathered for AWCF, you have had the opportunity to work with our incredible staff; Matthew Eckert who manages SCIF’s conservation programs, our staff from the South Africa Office and George Pangeti who has always been such an asset. What many of you do not realize is that we have a larger staff working in Washington, DC; well positioned to meet with representatives of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, or with members of embassy staff. It is my hope that at the conclusion of the 10th AWCF, we can collectively agree on principles of conservation that need to be improved with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and others in Washington. Safari Club’s staff is ready to do more for conservation than we ever have in the past. We want to act not only as a partner, but more importantly, as your voice when we discuss conservation concerns with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. By agreeing upon a core set of conservation principles at this meeting, Safari Club will be more proactive to improve wildlife conservation both at home and in Africa.

We must continue to witness tangible improvements – across the continent – in wildlife management and the professional capacity of many of the people sitting in this room. We need to encourage our colleagues to attend AWCF next year. We need to inform more of our conservation partners, government officials and the general public about the incredible work that needs to be done to ensure wildlife conservation continues for future generations. I hope the cooperative spirit that lives in this Forum continues throughout this week and many years into the future.

Thank you all.

SCI Foundation Closes in on One Million Dollar Investment in Lion Conservation and Research

Washington, DC – Safari Club International Foundation (SCI Foundation) has announced that it is close to hitting an unprecedented milestone by contributing nearly $1,000,000 to African lion projects for conservation and research.

“SCI Foundation has continually been a leader in lion conservation in collaboration with the African lion range states,” said SCI Foundation President Joe Hosmer. “Our specific research efforts have provided the best available information on the status of lions, which hopefully will be used by the range states to ensure well managed populations.”

This new information comes at a crucial time when the international conservation community is conducting a review on lions. This review will determine whether lions are appropriately listed in the CITES Appendices. Currently, they are listed as Appendix II, which poses restrictions on international trade in the species.

Annually, SCI Foundation underwrites the African Wildlife Consultative Forum (AWCF), a meeting where government officials from various African countries convene and discuss leading wildlife conservation issues and wildlife policy and management. The AWCF promotes the practice of sustainable use, including hunting. Therefore, Professional Hunting Associations and other NGOs are represented at this meeting to share their expertise and concerns with regard to wildlife conservation and hunting regulations.

“Throughout the decade long effort to improve the AWCF, lion conservation has been a continual theme that SCI Foundation hopes will result in ever improving management for such an iconic species,” concluded Hosmer.

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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.

Contact:
Nelson Freeman
(202) 543-8733
media@safariclub.org