This Thursday, November 18, the House Natural Resources Committee will be hosting an International Conservation Forum. The committee will host several witnesses from different African countries to examine the role sustainable hunting plays in conservation efforts and local economies.
Overwhelming evidence shows that well-regulated international hunting programs benefit wildlife, habitat, and local communities and are a key component of sustainable conservation efforts. The largest populations of elephants, lions, rhino, and giraffe live in the countries where they are hunted. Conversely, since Kenya, for example, has banned hunting they have seen a decline of approximately 70% of their wildlife. The industry also supports tens of thousands of jobs, strong anti-poaching efforts, and countless community benefits.
In addition to discussing the benefits of international hunting and community perspectives, a critical component of the forum will be examining the damage international hunting bans cause to African nations and conservation efforts. Specifically, the Interior Appropriations Bill passed by the House included a defacto trophy ban in Section 436 which would ban the funding of import permit processing for elephant or lion trophies from Tanzania, Zambia, or Zimbabwe. This would have severe consequences for the conservation programs of these countries and harm the very species it aims to protect.
This type of legislation from the United States or any other country threatens the sovereignty of African nations, proven conservation strategies, and the local communities living alongside wildlife. It is critical that the U.S. Government understands it has no place in dictating the management of another nation’s natural resources.
Safari Club International commends Ranking Member Bruce Westerman for providing African wildlife managers with a platform to highlight the conservation benefits of international hunting and will continue to work to promote sustainable hunting and conservation worldwide. Please visit our International Hunting – Focus on Africa page for more information and stay tuned for further updates on the Forum!