March 11, 2008 "In The Crosshairs"

In The Crosshairs Newsletter

March 11, 2008

SCI Lion
Safari Club International Defends Hunting in Testimony Before the House Natural Resources Committee

Dr. William Moritz, Director of Conservation (SCIF) and Acting Director of Governmental Affairs (SCI), testified Wednesday March 5th before the House Natural Resources Committee. The hearing was titled, "Poaching America's Security: Threats of Illegal Wildlife Trade.” SCI was the only group representing the hunting community on the eight person panel. Dr. Moritz's testimony focused on three main points:

...The illegal trade in wildlife involves poaching, not hunting.  Hunters observe the laws, regulations and ethical standards intended to benefit the conservation of game species, but poachers kill animals indiscriminately. 

...Hunters are the single largest source of funding for wildlife management and conservation, both here and abroad.  

...Hunters create an economic value for wildlife in rural communities where local populations might otherwise revert to poaching for subsistence.

Representative Don Young (R-Alaska), the Ranking Member of the Committee, went out of his way to note the benefits of hunting for the hearing record. Rep. Young championed SCI's main point that community wildlife rangers and hunting outfitters were on the frontlines of protecting wildlife from poaching in Africa. He engaged Cynthia McMurray, U.S. State Department, in a discussion on the positive benefit that hunting plays in African wildlife conservation, and further noted that proposed limits on USAID funding to countries that support hunting would be counterproductive for conservation.  Mr. John Sellars, the CITES representative echoed the conservation benefits of hunting as well, much to the apparent dismay of representatives from anti-hunting groups.

SCI Lion
SCI Scores Legal Victory Against Anti-Hunting Groups in Florida Black Bear Case

Thanks in part to SCI’s actions, a U.S. district court in Washington D.C. upheld the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision not to list the Florida black bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. A listing would have ended the annual hunt of the species in southern Georgia and precluded possible future hunts in Florida. SCI participated in the case as an intervenor and filed several briefs defending the FWS’s decision. Among other things, SCI explained that the Florida black bear was not endangered in 1998 when the FWS's decision not to list the species was first challenged and it is not endangered today. The Court agreed with arguments SCI and the Federal government made and rejected all the arguments the anti-hunting groups made. SCI is pleased that the Court rejected this latest attempt to misuse the ESA to stop legitimate hunting activities. (

SCI Lion
SCI Granted Right to Support Arizona Sheep Conservation

Safari Club International has been granted leave to join as a full party in litigation that could undermine bighorn sheep conservation on Kofa National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona. The U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona is allowing SCI to help defend the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s restoration of two man-made water developments on the refuge. These water sources provide essential water to the refuge’s bighorn sheep population and other wildlife. The bighorn sheep of Kofa NWR, which have declined in number recently from 800 to less than 400, are a seed population for reintroductions of the species throughout the West. Several wilderness and environmental groups filed suit to challenge the restoration efforts. SCI and a number of other national and local sporting and conservation groups have already actively participated in all aspects of the litigation. (

SCI Lion
Groups File Suit to Force Polar Bear Decision Despite Imminence of Decision

Despite the fact that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to announce its listing decision for the polar bear within a couple of weeks, several groups have filed a suit asking a court to order the Service to expedite that very same decision. The Center for Biological Diversity, Greenpeace, and the Natural Resources Defense Council filed suit in Federal court in San Francisco, presumably alleging that the polar bear’s plight is so dire that a hasty rather than carefully considered decision is merited. Ignored are the facts that polar bears currently number in the 20,000-25,000 range (at or near all-time highs), the species is well regulated by U.S. and Canadian wildlife managers, no respectable scientist believes the polar bear is on the brink of extinction, and the Service will be able to do little to change the polar bear’s situation in the short term, if at all. Fortunately, this publicity-stunt lawsuit should become moot once the Service announces its decision.

SCI Lion
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Keeps Wolverine Off ESA List

SCI has learned that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that a listing of the wolverine in the lower-48 states under the Endangered Species Act is not warranted. Thus, any restrictions on the taking of wolverine that would accompany an ESA listing will not go into effect. For example, hunting and trapping of the species will continue under state law in Montana, which has the largest lower-48 population. The Service found that viable populations of the species in Canada and Alaska ensure the continued existence of the species. The lower-48 populations are connected to the Canadian populations, but do not contribute to the viability of the Canadian populations and are not essential to the species’ survival. It is possible that environmental groups will sue the Service over this decision. SCI will keep you posted.

SCI Lion
University of California Sue Animal Rights Terrorists for Attacks on Families

"It was late into the night when 25 people in ski masks descended on professor [name deleted]'s family home. Pounding on the door, frightening his small children, they screamed into megaphones, "Animal killer! We know where you live! We will never give up!" And they apparently meant it. That year, 2006, according to court documents, animal rights activists launched a summer-long campaign of harassment against [name deleted], an assistant professor of psychology and neurobiology at the University of California at Los Angeles and other scientists who conduct research with laboratory animals. They hurled firecrackers at his house in the middle of the night and planted Molotov-cocktail-like explosives at other faculty houses, threatening to burn them to the ground.… The University of California regents have responded by suing UCLA Primate Freedom, the Animal Liberation Brigade, the Animal Liberation Front and five people allegedly affiliated with them. It is a tactic that the regents successfully employed nine years ago. The regents hope to win a permanent injunction similar to one granted against Last Chance for Animals in 1989.” (Source: Washington Post, March 11, 2008)

SCI Lion
U.S. State Department Travel Warning for Cameroon

“This Travel Warning is being issued to advise American citizens of the unstable security situation in Cameroon. On February 28, the Department of State authorized the departure from Cameroon of eligible family members of American employees of the U.S. Embassy throughout Cameroon. American citizens in Cameroon should exercise extreme caution and try to depart the country if their situation permits. American citizens outside of Cameroon should defer non-essential travel until the security situation stabilizes and critical services are restored. International flights into Douala and Yaounde continue, but may be diverted or cancelled on short notice. U.S. citizens should monitor the U.S. Embassy Yaounde website at and media sources for the latest information. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Alert for Cameroon of February 27, 2008.” (Source: