June 5, 2007 "In The Crosshairs"

In The Crosshairs Newsletter

June 5, 2007

SCI Lion
Major Win for Sportsmen on Leopards and Rhinos

Kenya’s effort to repeal the hunting quotas for black rhinos went down to resounding defeat today. By a vote of 82%, the 170 nations at the CITES meeting in The Hague rejected Kenya ’s proposal to revoke quotas granted at the last CITES meeting for the black rhino.

In 2004 in Thailand, the CITES nations agreed that the conservation of the black rhino would be enhanced by allowing sport hunters to take a limited number of rhinos in Namibia and South Africa and to export the trophies back to their home countries.

SCI past president John Monson, who heads SCI’s delegation to the CITES meeting, said, “we believe that this move by Kenya was inspired by the animal rights groups that have dominated Kenya ’s wildlife policies for years now.”

Joe Hosmer, Chairman of the Conservation Committee of the SCI Foundation, who is also on the delegation, added that “this defeat shows that the rest of the world understands how sport hunting achieves conservation with an important species like the black rhino.”

Black rhino populations declined sharply in the latter part of the 20th century. Careful husbandry of the species in Namibia and South Africa and private programs have brought black rhino numbers back. The rhinos that are taken are post-reproductive males that have become problematic in the breeding populations and are scattered throughout Namibia and South Africa. In addition to removing these problem animals from the populations, the money paid by the hunters is turned back into the rhino conservation programs – a true success story for pragmatic, sustainable use conservation.

In addition to the good news on rhinos, a request from Mozambique to double its leopard trophy export quota was approved, and an export quota for leopards from Uganda was approved. This is the first time that leopards will be available from Uganda. As with the black rhino, the approval of quotas reflects the world conservation community recognition that sport hunting plays an important role in wildlife conservation.

SCI Lion
SCI Commits to Helping CITES

SCI Past President John Monson delivered the following statement, in which he emphasized the positive role that hunting plays in wildlife conservation:

“To signal our commitment to CITES, we have provided money in our new budget, beginning on July 1, to invest in programs under the current version of the Strategic Vision. SCI believes that responsible sport hunting, undertaken within the framework of scientifically-based wildlife management concepts, and carried out in a sustainable manner, makes a positive contribution to the conservation of wildlife and to the livelihoods of the people that share their lives with the wildlife and its habitat. As an organization of sport hunters, we have participated in CITES since the Special Working Session in Geneva in 1977 and particularly through our sister organization, the SCI Foundation, we have worked in the field in many countries with a particular emphasis on the provision of scientific information for conservation, capacity-building and the improvement of livelihoods as an incentive for conservation. We are proud to be able to continue that participation now by contributing to the efforts of the Strategic Vision.”

At a session this morning on the Strategic Vision – CITES long range plan to which the annual budgets are tied -- SCI made a commitment to assist CITES financially by provide funding for various projects (to be chosen) over the next several years. The specific projects are developed in the annual budgets (called the “Costed Program of Work”), which implement the Strategic Vision.