DSC applauds the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announcement regarding a positive enhancement finding for elephants in the countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe. The positive enhancement standard is strict, and requires that the Service find “that the [animal] is taken as part of a well-managed conservation program that contributes to the long-term survival of the species.”
Because this decision is based on sound scientific data, not on emotion or politics, the role of legal, regulated sport hunting is shown to be vital in the conservation of wildlife worldwide. Additionally, where there is hunting, anti-poaching programs are the strongest.
Increased anti-poaching efforts across Africa – including K-9 units, motorcycle, aircraft patrols and drone use – have been funded by hunter revenue directly or by hunting organizations’ grants and programs. For example, DSC Foundation has disbursed considerable funds in the past five years in the fight against poaching – including grants to Zambezi Delta Safaris, needed equipment for patrols, training for game scouts at the Southern Africa Wildlife College and others.
DSC Executive Director Corey Mason said, “It is gratifying that the Dept. of Interior and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are taking bold steps for wildlife conservation. When hunter dollars flow into local economies, wildlife retains value – poaching goes down as well as retaliatory killings of nuisance wildlife. Additionally, this finding will allow hunters to import legally taken trophies again.”
Mason said, “This great news from Washington, D.C. follows a similar enhancement finding for lion recently. It is clear that Secretary Zinke, USFWS Deputy Director Greg Sheehan and the current Administration are pro-conservation.”
“Hunting is indeed a vital component in the equation of science, policy and common sense that creates the best possible scenario for wildlife, and this administration completely understands that connection,” said DSC President Craig Nyhus.
Nyhus added, “DSC remains committed to its mission to promote conservation, to educate the public on the benefits of hunting, and to advocate for hunters worldwide. We will continue to work with our government officials to see that hunter-generated revenue supports conservation, and to open up communication for international governments to incorporate these principles into their management plans.”
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