By Brook Minx, Safari Club International Foundation President
Over the last 50 years, Safari Club International has served its members by engaging in critical Hunter Advocacy, Conservation, Education and Humanitarian work, all funded by hunter-member dollars. That work has shifted and changed over time and today, we have two separate organizations that work closely together to accomplish what SCI members care about.
SCI carries out membership, advocacy and lobbying. SCI Foundation — SCIF — carries out conservation, education and humanitarian programs.
SCIF’s 501(c)(3) tax status allows donors to contribute where they feel most passionate and receive a tax benefit for their donations. These are donations over and above your membership dues. Without the generous donations from our SCI members to SCIF, these conservation, education and humanitarian services could not be carried out. Your separate donations are critical to SCIF’s mission success.
With the media demonizing hunters, and their blatant disregard for the benefit of wildlife due to hunters, it has made the mission of the SCIF even more important. Over the next few editions of SAFARI Magazine, I will share with you more about what your dollars are doing in each of these areas: conservation, education and humanitarian projects.
Our conservation work has become more and more focused over the last several years, and I’m very proud of the strides we’ve made. Today, the SCIF Conservation Department has worked closely with crucial stakeholders to determine the areas we can make an impact where it’s most needed. The list below lays the framework of our six focused programs on conservation and will give you an idea of why we are engaged in this work.
I’m grateful to be a part of the SCI family and for the opportunity to serve you as we move forward and work to ensure the future of wildlife through sustainable-use conservation. If you have any questions about the programs below, please look at www.safariclubfoundation.org or follow SCIF’s social media channels.
SCIF is engaged in the collection of science-based information to support the long-term persistence and growth of leopard populations in Africa. Regulated hunting of leopards has been shown to be consistent with healthy leopard programs, and the funds from leopard hunting are critical to the economic viability of many wildlife-friendly areas in southern Africa. However, lack of large-scale, peer-reviewed data about leopard abundance and the impacts of hunting have been identified as key data gaps in the future of leopard sustainable use.
CWD is one of the most important threats facing deer hunting and the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. As this incurable disease continues to spread, states and provinces will need better policies and regulatory tools to reduce the rate of spread. A quantitative assessment of risk and impacts of various policies is needed to devise more efficient and effective CWD management policy for the long term. We’re invested in CWD for the long term.
Bear populations throughout North America have been growing for decades, with increasing opportunities for regulated hunting in many areas. However, these growing bear numbers and increased human presence in bear range have produced more human-bear conflict that is a threat to human health and livelihoods while also affecting bear populations. Bear hunting is also under threat in many areas based on social factors, but lack of information about bear populations and bear ecology limits opportunities for sustainable use in some places.
SCIF is developing a program to manage human-bear conflict, focused on grizzly bears in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem. We are also supporting science-based data collection in areas where such information is not sufficient to ensure sustainability.
The AWCF is a cornerstone event for SCIF and key venue for important stakeholders in hunting and conservation of African wildlife. With input from government authorities, NGOs, professional hunters, community leaders and scientists, AWCF is the premier sustainable-use conference in Africa. With AWCF now in its 20th year funded entirely by SCIF, it remains a key component of our long-term strategy on the continent.
International conventions and regulatory bodies remain key to the long-term viability of international hunting and the role hunting can play in biodiversity conservation. SCIF is active in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) where we work tirelessly with range countries to maintain trade where appropriate and consistent with conservation. We are also members of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the leading international organization dealing with conservation and biodiversity worldwide.
Illegal harvest of wild animals for local consumption or international sale is a leading threat to biodiversity and to populations of vulnerable species such as rhinoceros and pangolins. Poaching has long been an important issue in Africa, and SCIF works with local entities to address poaching threats. SCIF, through SCIF PATROL Anti-Poaching-In-Action program, is chronicling anti-poaching activities throughout southern Africa and will share these through posts on social media, documentaries and more.
I’ll share more in-depth details of various projects within the aforementioned programs SCIF is funding in the next issues of SAFARI Magazine.
Until next time, remember, if you don’t fund these programs, then who will?
Simply put, SCIF needs you!
Please be a donor!