Safari Club International condemns in the strongest possible terms the decision by the British Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to announce one of the world’s most sweeping and comprehensive bans on the import of animal species hunted abroad, most commonly in Africa.
The profound lack of any scientific basis for the proposal is further confirmed by the fact that the announcement included no legislative text offering further details, nor a timeline for enactment.
U.K Environment Secretary George Eustice claimed that this initiative supports “long-term species conservation,” but in fact the most up-to-date conservation science and wildlife biology has proven precisely the opposite.
Ham-fisted, blanket import bans like the one just proposed in the U.K. do not solve, but rather exacerbate, the most pressing conservation problems such as poaching, loss of biodiversity, and natural habitat degradation. The inevitable result is wildlife population decline.
More specifically, academics and researchers across the globe and on the ground in Africa have for years pointed out that, “There is not… a single species where hunting is listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List as a key threat driving it to extinction.”
Furthermore, these same subject matter experts maintain, in agreement with African wildlife officials, that “indiscriminate bans, without better alternatives to replace incentives from high-fee hunting to maintain wildlife and habitat, risk significantly amplifying major threats such as poaching and land conversion.”
These conclusions were confirmed by African officials as recently as last month at the 19th African Wildlife Consultative Forum, where delegates from a number of southern and eastern African countries explicitly addressed how and why blanket import bans threaten their national sovereignty and their successful conservation strategies, by attempting to dictate how they manage their wildlife populations.
SCI and SCIF CEO W. Laird Hamberlin commented, “It is enormously disappointing that the British government has allowed emotion, misinformation, and misunderstanding around hunting to justify a vague and indeterminate policy proposal that will inescapably cause more long-term harm to the wildlife and natural habitat it claims to benefit.”