DSC Statement in Opposition to H.R. 2245

Aug 3rd

2019

CategoryPosted in DSC News Center

Statement for the Record by

Corey Mason, Executive Director of the Dallas Safari Club

Chairman Grijalva, Ranking Member Bishop, and Members
of the Committee, the Dallas Safari Club (DSC) strongly opposes the passage of
H.R. 2245, the “Conserving Ecosystems by Ceasing the Importation of Large Animal
Trophies Act.”  This bill solely represents
an attempt to stop well-regulated, legal hunting and does not address
conservation needs or concerns in Africa.
It is evident that the bill’s author has not consulted with any African Wildlife
Departments or rural communities, as they have and will testify that this bill
would result in the reduction of conversation measures, would harm rural
communities and does not address the pressing threat to Africa’s wildlife –
loss of habitat.

Both history and the
IUCN have shown that well-regulated, legal hunting positively contributes to
the conservation of game, non-game and wildlife habitats. As the IUCN 2016
Briefing Paper states, “Legal, well-regulated trophy hunting programs can – and
do – play an important role in delivering benefits for both wildlife
conservation and for the livelihoods and wellbeing of indigenous and local
communities living with wildlife.”
Further, “In many parts of the world indigenous and local communities
have chosen to use trophy hunting as a strategy for conservation of their
wildlife and to improve sustainable livelihoods.”

Additionally, a study published
in the African Geographic Journal in 2017 revealed that Botswana’s shift from
hunting in 2014 had some major detrimental effects: 1) Negative attitudes
towards wildlife conservation by local people; 2) An increase in poaching; 3)
Game meat resources, usually provided to local communities for free by the
hunting operators, were drastically reduced or became non-existent; and 4) Land
use was lost.  Thus, in many areas,
wildlife conservation is only sustainable when hunting plays a central role.

H.R. 2245 also undermines the
established scientific authorities that are trained and charged with management
of wildlife resources.  These include
Wildlife Departments in host countries, Parties to CITES, IUCN, and the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service.  Wildlife
should be managed by those trained and charged to do so, thus ensuring the
conservation of habitats and populations in a healthy and sustainable manner.

Lastly, there is great
arrogance and hypocrisy in Americans attempting to manage and determine the
fate of Africa’s diverse wildlife resources and rural people.  How would Congress react to an African
country passing a law that impacts the food securities and jobs of
Americans?  Local governments and people
and trained scientific authorities are responsible for managing wildlife, not
U.S. Congress.

In conclusion, if passed,
H.R. 2245 would result in the loss of millions of acres of wildlife habitat in
Africa and would have significant negative consequences for rural communities.  Additionally, this bill would result in
safari operators discontinuing anti-poaching activities, negatively impacting
all wildlife species, from elephant to pangolin.  Lastly, wildlife diversity and abundance
would be negatively impacted.  For
example, one needs to look no further than the loss of elephant in Kenya since
their hunting ban.  When Kenya closed
elephant hunting in 1977, their elephant population was 167,000.  Today Kenya has 25,000 elephants.

I close with a quote from Botswana
President, Mokgweetsi Masisi – “It bamboozles me when people sit in the comfort
of where they come from and lecture us about the management of species they
don’t have.”

  • Corey
    Mason is the DSC Executive Director and a Certified Wildlife Biologist®

 


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