Thanks to strong and consistent opposition from Safari Club International (SCI), members of Congress, and African wildlife officials, the 2022 appropriations package has successfully passed through the legislative process without Section 436 included, which would have banned the importation into the U.S of sport-hunted elephants or lions from Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and Zambia.
Now, this finalized legislation is headed to President Biden’s desk for signature. Until today, the bill was still pending before the Senate, so its final language was not assured. SCI refrained from reporting this victory until all steps of the process played out, since every step represented a possibility that the bill would see more changes or be derailed entirely.
Had the Section 436 language remained in the bill as the anti-hunting activists wanted, this provision would have kneecapped hunting incentives in southern Africa. That in turn would have significantly reducing funding for conservation projects, biodiversity enhancement initiatives, and habitat protection in the region. Some of the world’s largest populations of lions and elephants that inhabit that part of the continent would have been more vulnerable to poachers, unemployment, and deadly human-wildlife conflicts as a result.
Leading up to the decision in Congress to strip this anti-hunting language, SCI members and our supporters made our voices heard in the halls of Congress by:
- Generating 2,199 individual letters from advocates to their members of Congress, urging them to oppose Section 436.
- Sending a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Republican Leader McCarthy from SCI and 21 other hunting organizations, detailing strong opposition to Section 436 for blatantly ignoring the conservation benefits of well-regulated international hunting.
- Working with Representative Jeff Duncan of South Carolina to introduce an amendment to strike Section 436 from the funding bill, which SCI also called on all members of Congress to support.
The voices and contributions of Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Richard Shelby (R-AL) were especially important as they spearheaded efforts to remove this harmful language from the bill. Their dedication to protecting America’s hunting heritage has not gone unnoticed by SCI and our members, and we congratulate them on their successful leadership.
African government and community representatives also played a distinguished role in the campaign to strike this anti-conservation language by testifying in front of the House of Representatives and directly contacting lawmakers’ offices. Notably, Ambassadors of nations within the Southern African Development Community, Ambassador Tadeous Tafipenyika Chifamba of the Republic of Zimbabwe, and Ambassador Lazarous Kapambwe of the Republic of Zambia sent a letter directly to Speaker Pelosi and Leader McCarthy voicing their concern about the damages an import ban would have on their respective countries and the region writ large.
“I’d like to speak on behalf of SCI members, our friends across Southern Africa, and hunters the world over when I say that we are thrilled with Congress’ decision to eliminate Section 436’s anti-hunting language from the appropriations package. There are still many fights on the horizon that are equally important in protecting African wildlife conservation and the global freedom to hunt, but today we should acknowledge and celebrate the difference hunters can make when we work together to achieve a common goal.” said SCI CEO Laird Hamberlin.