Expected Announcement From U.S. FWS Will Close Elephant Imports From Zimbabwe, Tanzania

Discussion in 'News & Announcements' started by AfricaHunting.com, Apr 4, 2014.

  1. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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    Open Letter to USFW

    Here is an email from Ryan Shallom in Tanzania.

    To All It Concerns,
    Please find attached. I appreciate your time and thought on my personal concerns on the recent Suspension of Elephant Trophy Imports.
    Thank you. Kind regards,
    Ryan Shallom
    Safari Suave




    Open Letter to USFW

    Ryan Eric Shallom
    Managing Director CEO Professional Guide

    Ref. #: RES/FWS/2014-001

    15/04/2014

    The US Fish & Wildlife Service
    Department of the Interior
    1849 C Street, NW
    Washington, DC 20240

    RE: OPEN LETTER IN RESPONSE TO THE RECENT SUSPENSION ON IMPORTS OF ELEPHANT TROPHIES FROM TANZANIA AND ZIMBABWE (PRESS RELEASE OF APRIL 4TH, 2014).

    I write to your respected office as a deeply concerned global citizen - one who is a Tanzanian by identity and legal status. I am a Professional Hunter, Investor and stakeholder in the Tanzanian Tourist Hunting Industry. I have been actively involved in the safari industry since childhood, as part of a family business started by my parents. My parents both came from large families and had humble beginnings. Even basics such as an education were luxuries their parents could not afford. But they had a determination to survive and succeed in context of their circumstances and environment. They did. Despite their handicap of a higher education, lack of professional qualifications and no finances, they worked hard to make a living and made a break-through in the safari business. My father came from a long line of hunters, for whom hunting was a means of providing food for the family and the neighborhood. So even though he hunted often, it was never more than putting protein in the store. But his hunting ways developed into a passion for the outdoors, which in turn progressed into knowledge and experience of the indigenous tribes, wilderness areas, wildlife, vehicle maintenance, bush skills and expertise of firearms and tools.

    Very soon, he became renowned for his passion. He ventured far and undertook what nobody else would dare hence his beginnings as a safari guide, support service provider and finally a Professional Hunter. As a local hunter, he saw a lot of negative, but as a Professional Hunter, he advocated wildlife conservation and development of the Tourist Hunting Industry to what it is today and what I continue to practice as a qualified Tanzanian Professional. This profession of Professional Hunting allowed my parents to give me an education they never had, supports them to this day, sustains my family presently and enables my children to live a decent life and obtain an education as well. This profession, since my father's time, has been largely supported by hunters worldwide, of which American hunters are a large percentage. This is my history.

    Please bear with me as I attempt to build a clear context on this matter. I realize you may find all this irrelevant and just a storyline but it is a true story. So please give it the few moments in deserves. Trust me, your decision has impacted my reality severely. So I expect you to at the least, get a perspective on what it means to affect lives and destabilize foundations of success.

    I am not the only person with such a story. We are many. Some have different details, but the fundamentals are the same. Some have been embraced by good fortune and become citizens of the United States of America and others still live in a remote part of Tanzania with only the start of the hunting season to look forward to. One aspect is common amongst us hunting is a way of life and we depend on it as a means for survival. It sustains our livelihood and we also protect it with our lives. We are the primary stakeholders and official custodians of our wildlife. We live with our wildlife as a natural resource and give it value through sustainable utilization policies, which have developed over time, into a global industry, of which the US is participant.

    Our government acknowledges hunting as part of our national fabric. We were hunters since our early beginnings as man. The concept of hunting has evolved with time and we as hunters, have adapted with it. Our great grandfathers hunted at will. Our grandfathers hunted during a period of colonialism and basic regulation. Our fathers hunted after independence, pioneering a regulated industry. We now hunt in modern times and continue to develop the industry on a legally regulated basis with scientific foundations. Over time, through generations, our cause holds true - sustainable hunting. This translates to wildlife conservation and it equates to lives being sustained, both wild and civil. As modern day professionals, in a country where wildlife is mostly perceived as meat, we partner with the government and global community, to give it a value beyond protein. We make-up and nurture an industry that gives legal and tangible value to wildlife that goes beyond food. Our value on wildlife goes beyond money. In our hunting areas, wildlife is seen by many local communities as access to education, better healthcare, clean water wells, infrastructure development, problem animal control and opportunity for employment and trade. The hunting industry also serves as the only platform for cultural and social exchange in some areas. Our progressive efforts, in collaboration with the government, worldwide hunters and global stakeholders, ensures that communities benefit, the economy is boosted and ecology is protected. Regulated Tourist Hunting in Tanzania today is a life line to many people from all over the world, Tanzanians and Americans included. This is our history.

    I have been fortunate to know some great hunters in my time. I have even met them in person and it is an honor and privilege to share their story and continue their fine pioneering work in Tanzania. I am nowhere near their fame, qualification or reputation, but I would like to believe we share a similar passion for wildlife and dedication to its conservation. I refer to the likes of Robin Hurt, Luke Samaras, Danny McCallum, Gerard Pasanisi, Hilary Daffi, Paulo Shanalingigwa and many more. These gentlemen, many foreign, have dedicated their lives to conservation of wildlife in Tanzania and many other parts of Africa. They have proven practically, successfully and scientifically, their passion for selective and sustainable hunting works as a conservation tool applicable and viable in Africa. In Tanzania, not only does it work, but it is the frontline of wildlife conservation countrywide. Even our National Parks are all born from hunting areas. If hunting were to be stopped in Tanzania today, we would immediately lose 30% of wilderness habitat and a much larger percentage of our wildlife. Even the success of our National Parks is largely attributed to our sustainably practiced hunting policy (buffer zones). This is their story.

    This is now my story. I share it because it is real and I can speak clearly and factually about it. It is very relevant to modern day Tanzania. An account of a recent eventuality and clear proof of the importance of hunting in the protection of natural resources and wildlife conservation. It is something you can verify easily, because from being one of the top ecological hotspots in the world only a decade ago, the USAID is today funding it as an agricultural zone under a program called SAGCOT (Southern Agricultural Corridor of Tanzania). This area was explored, surveyed and studied in the 1990's by the Royal Geographic Society (RGS). It was at that time leased to my family, by the government, as a hunting concession. A survey was conducted, recorded and published as "The Kilombero Valley Report, 1997". The report declared this area as having one of the densest wildlife populations anywhere in the world. It was home to 75% of the world's Puku Antelope (60,000). Other figures include; buffalo (30,000), elephant (12,000), lion (600) and hippo (8,000). We utilized the hunting concession for twenty (20) years until we could no longer fight the politics behind the foreign funded teak plantations, illegal cattle encroachment and political party hostilities. We officially relinquished rights to the concession in 2010 and it was at an arbitration hearing conducted by the 'National Committee on Human Rights & Good Governance' that I insisted it be put on record that our withdrawal from the area was forced by circumstances beyond our control, as a result of being compromised by abuse of authority. I warned the committee, government bodies and local communities that our withdrawal would be the end of a wildlife resource within six months. I was wrong it was depleted in 3 months!

    I speak of The Kilombero Valley in southern Tanzania, bordering the western boundary of the Selous Game Reserve. It has an area of 6,000 square kilometers. The largest inland wetland ecosystem in East Africa. Today, what was only recently a world ecological hotspot, consists of Teak Plantations, Nomadic Cattle beyond carrying capacity, shifting cultivation and plans for an Agricultural Project to be funded by the USAID and other International Donor Agencies. It is a "Game Controlled Area" without much game. No lions, no elephants, a few buffalo and hippo and even fewer Puku Antelope, to the point even poachers have stopped poaching. One of the most catastrophic experiences I have ever had. I still feel guilty and the bitterness never seizes.

    But I ask you who is to blame? Tanzania? USA? The world? Hunters? Politicians? The fact remains the world has lost an amazing natural resource that was a prized asset. We are all at a loss and worse off for it. We still have resources to salvage, but if we continue to be unwise, there will come a time when such losses will lead to hostilities and fatalities that will have much bigger consequence. Our decisions today, determine our tomorrows. The unfortunate fact is that 'hope' is carried by a few, for the benefit of us all. Even when a nation is at war, it is only a select few that fight it on the frontlines. It is not a majority that actually fights the war. But it is important for the majority to stand firm in support and solidarity of its warriors. Especially the leaders and commanders or else risk wasting the lives of fine men and women, who fight for a good cause, and forever have their blood on your hands. True patriots, men of valor and honor, make decisions, take action and stand responsible. We fight for what we believe in and what is right and just. We do it for the benefit and betterment of all, hence all people are benefactors.

    You may wonder why I have written this letter the way I have. I don't know exactly why it has taken the form it has, but it is written honestly and with good intent. I have tried to express the reality of matters, the on-going challenges and success, history and aspirations in a simple way. To convey a message that can be understood by normal people like myself, qualified and highly distinguished personalities and people of power and authority. So maybe I should summarize;

    I am a hunter. As hunters, we have rich history and valid stance in the scheme of things as man. We are proud of our role, which over time, is a proven strategy for ecological well-being. Lives, livelihoods and resources depend on what we do. Wrong decisions lead to irreparable damage in our industry and natural resources do not recover fast, well, easy or cheap. Decisions in our industry do need to have researched, consulted and firm foundations. We have implemented a system that does not rely on emotion, inclination or rash decision-making. Experience, history, knowledge, science, integrity, ethics, wisdom and dedication are the foundations on which our industry works. We are selfless in our jobs, but will fight to protect what is undoubtedly good for our planet and a resource for our children and future generations. Hunting is our heritage. It should never end nor diminish. It should develop, progress and thrive as a positive practice.

    Now I come to your story what exactly is your story? Please tell us your story in context of your recent decision to ban the import of legally hunted elephants in Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Surely you know the importance of a legally regulated industry to a country, its people and its market? What exactly are your motives behind de-valuing a key species in Africa to its allies? Do you not see that you have removed incentive from its' legal protectors and added value to its persecutors? Is it wise to punish and compromise the only active elephant protectors in order to send a message to a government that has little capacity to protect the species? Are you claiming conservation measures by compromising conservation efforts? The Americans you have restricted from importing trophies do not agree with you so why exactly are you doing this? Why are you not focusing on the actual problem of poaching and habitat loss and helping to deal with it? Why are you making a decision that contradicts all foundations and practicalities of wildlife conservation? Why are you making a decision without consulting the country and people it affects? Do you really believe your decision will help the species? Will you be responsible enough to re-consider your decision in the best interest of conservation?

    I ask these questions as a concerned global citizen of Tanzanian nationality and professional in the Tourist Hunting Industry. I am aware of your cited reasons for the suspension of imports on your press release. But I do not believe they are valid, nor justified. In fact, I believe they are of no significance to their claimed cause, an insult to the history of the industry and personalities as outlined in this letter, a danger to survival of the wild African Elephant and an attack on the wildlife conservation efforts in countries specified. Furthermore, you have subjected me to fail in my professional objectives, handicapped my ability to fulfil family duty and demoralized our good cause consisting of committed and passionate people professionals. Yes you have. I pray for responsibility and accountability, but most of all wisdom. Sincerity & Faith, Ryan Shallom.
     

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    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 17, 2014
  2. Wheels

    Wheels GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Ryan,

    Thanks for your letter. It is obviously from the heart.

    Hopefully letters like yours will help reverse the situation.

    All the best.
     
  3. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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    SCI Moves Feds Foward on Elephant Imports from Zimbabwe!

    SCI Moves Feds Forward on Elephant Imports From Zimbabwe: USFWS Revises Decision and WILL Allow Retroactive 2014 Imports

    Washington, D.C. Safari Club International (SCI) is encouraged by the United States Fish and Wildlife (USFWS) decision today to revise the April 4, 2014, finding that suspended imports of elephants from Zimbabwe and Tanzania for 2014. Under the revision elephant trophies legally taken from Zimbabwe from January 1, 2014 until April 4, 2014 will be allowed to be imported. The hunter will just need to be able to demonstrate to USFWS Office of Law Enforcement that the hunt occurred before that date in order to import the trophy.

    SCI is hopeful that this revision is just the first step in a process of rescinding of the suspension of elephant trophy imports from Zimbabwe and Tanzania. This haphazard decision to suspend imports based on "anecdotal evidence" will have a profound negative impact on elephant conservation. The Director of CAMPFIRE Association of Zimbabwe and noted conservationist, Charles Jonga, has stated that this suspension "poses an unprecedented threat to all future conservation efforts of the African Elephant in rural areas of Zimbabwe".

    SCI continues to request that USFWS completely lift the suspension before the millions of dollars hunters invest in conservation in Africa completely dry up, and as a result exponentially increases poaching in the process due to loss of critical enforcement in the field.



    Source: Safari Club International (SCI)
     
  4. gxsr-sarge

    gxsr-sarge AH Veteran

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    Wheels,

    You're in luck. The Feds just revised the ban AS OF APRIL (in other words, anything taken from January 1 to April 4 is OK.
     
  5. Wheels

    Wheels GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Just got a phone call from a taxidermist who knew my predicament. Jumped on here and read the news release.

    This guy is HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  6. bluey

    bluey GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    shit hot and shiney, wheels happy for you ,mate ....
    l bet your grinning like Cheshire the cat........
    now how about that hunting report with them ,there photos , cobber
     
  7. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Someone decided you guys in the US might just have a Constitution after all.

    Now it leaves the people who placed deposits and planned hunts out in the cold. Still costly and unfair for those folks.


    Glad yours will make it Wheels.
     
  8. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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    I'm happy for you too Wheels!
     
  9. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    I'm happy for you Wheels :clapping::rockon::rockon::rockon:

    I'm just pissed at our so called wildlife experts at the USFW:tired::mad::mad::mad:
     
  10. RogerHeintzman

    RogerHeintzman AH Enthusiast

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    Wheels,

    I'm HAPPY, HAPPY HAPPY for you too.


    "A Dream can be relived, again and again in Africa."
     
  11. Wheels

    Wheels GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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  12. Royal27

    Royal27 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Really happy for you Wheels!

    Now to hope this gets extended til at least September for my cousin....
     
  13. Bos en Dal Safaris

    Bos en Dal Safaris SPONSOR AH Enthusiast

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    I am glad there is some progress my friend. Maybe it will all turn out to be ok!!!

    Best Regards
     
  14. Paw Print

    Paw Print SPONSOR AH Elite

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    This is real good news, happy for you Wheels!
     
  15. K-man

    K-man AH Veteran

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    Have been reading the "news releases" as well as these posts. I just don't understand how suspending imports of legally obtained elephants into the usa does anything to stop the poached trade of ivory into china, or stops the poisoning of elephants in zim. Am I missing something or does that just seem stupid. I guess I just answered my own question, but will be asking my congressman the same question next week.
     
  16. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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    SCI Sues to Challenge African Elephant Importation Ban

    SCI Sues to Challenge African Elephant Importation Ban

    Yesterday, Safari Club International filed a lawsuit to challenge the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (FWS) abrupt and unwarranted bans on the importation of sport-hunted African elephants from Zimbabwe and Tanzania. The FWS issued the importation ban on April 4th without consultation of the nations affected or the hunters impacted.

    "SCI acted swiftly to develop this lawsuit to correct the errors in the Service's importation ban decision as well as the harm that the bans will cause to elephant conservation," said SCI President Craig Kauffman. "African elephant hunting is an excellent example of how U.S. hunters can make a powerfully positive contribution to the conservation of a species. Congress and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have repeatedly acknowledged that poachers are the threat to elephant conservation, and that hunters offer a solution. It is time for the Service to stop putting obstacles in the way of the legal hunting that plays an invaluable role in international species conservation. Unless the government reverses these bans, they will do more harm than good. We file this suit in the hope that it will require the Service and the Court to reverse this tragic situation."

    The importation bans that SCI's lawsuit challenges will undermine on-the-ground conservation benefits created by U.S. hunters. For example, three game management areas alone in Zimbabwe produce roughly US $500,000 annually and 85% is applied directly back to local projects for villages. Similarly in Tanzania sport hunting employs approximately 3,700 people and supports over 88,000 families. This revenue provides local communities with conservation resources and incentives and discourages poaching. The loss of this revenue could be devastating to elephant survival.

    Without sport-hunted elephant importation, that revenue will dry up. Without the ability to import the most significant symbol of their effort and success, many U.S. hunters will not undertake the huge expense of an elephant hunt. The absence of U.S. hunters will undermine the outfitting industry, which often provides the first line of defense against poaching. It will also reduce conservation dollars derived from the hunting fees and community support for elephant conservation. SCI hopes that its lawsuit will reverse the bans and reinstate these positive impacts.

    About SCI's Lawsuit:

    SCI filed its lawsuit in federal district court in the District of Columbia. SCI's attorneys will be making every effort to obtain a quick resolution of the matter. SCI's suit attacks the inadequacy of the information on which the FWS based its decision and the Service's failure to consider the beneficial impacts that U.S. hunters and sport hunting have on African elephant conservation, including the economic deterrent to poaching that is funded by hunters.

    For the ban on elephant importation from Zimbabwe, SCI also challenges the FWS's failure to follow the very procedures the agency set out for announcing and implementing a suspension of sport hunted elephant importation, as well as the Service's decision to require an enhancement of survival finding before allowing sport hunted elephant importation. SCI's challenge to the ban on Tanzania's sport hunted elephant importation also attacks the Service's failure to notify and include the public in the decision-making and the Service's use of an erroneous decision-making analysis to determine the impact of sport hunted elephant importation on the survival of the African elephant population in Tanzania.



    Source: Safari Club International (SCI)
     
  17. Shallom

    Shallom AH Enthusiast

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    Dear Stakeholders...
    I would like to extend appreciation for all the effort and time invested by hunters and conservationists from around the world. Especially to platforms such as SCI, DSC, CIC, BGF as well as many chapters, organizations, groups and individuals who have spread the awareness, knowledge, facts, and taken all possible avenues to come to the aid of not only the affected countries in the recent ban, but also wildlife conservation in general. Our hunting heritage truly has no boundaries and is as good a cause as any! We must take positives from the show of support and solidarity from all corners of the world in this rightful fight. It is a fight and these are just the early rounds. be it Tanzania, Alaska or DC, hunters are under attack. We cannot and must not allow any slack... It should be clear to everyone by now - ALL freedoms and rights are in danger. Lastly but not least, thanks to forums like this, we, the stakeholders can activate and communicate on a global scale to fight for our rights as hunters in the best interest of our wilderness and wildlife resource. Our effort, lobby and unity must be on a global scale. Our enemies have already activated on that scale, so anything less will not stand much of a chance. More than ever, we need to unite and voice our concerns, fight for our rights and stand for what we believe in - or else be helpless to practice our passion. Kind regards,
     
  18. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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    Safari Club International Files Motion For Preliminary Injunction Against Elephant Importation Bans

    Washington, DC - Yesterday, April 30, 2014, Safari Club International’s (SCI) litigation team took the second step in its challenge to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) bans on the importation of sport-hunted elephants from Zimbabwe and Tanzania. SCI filed a motion for a preliminary injunction, asking the court to immediately lift the importation bans. SCI’s motion explained that emergency relief is necessary to prevent harm to those who have elephant hunts planned for 2014 and to the elephants whose conservation has been placed at risk by the FWS’s actions.

    In the preliminary injunction documents, SCI argued that (1) elephant conservation, including anti-poaching efforts, will suffer under the bans; (2) hunters and safari operators, are irreparably harmed by the loss to the value of hunts and the loss of business; and (3) decreased numbers of U.S. hunters means that the hunting operations will have less money to invest in community projects and habitat improvement. Together with the motion, SCI submitted a record number of over 40 declarations from hunters, outfitters, and booking agents to show the court the damage the suspension of importation has already caused and will continue to cause. The statements from these members demonstrate the stories of the more than 130 members that wrote to SCI’s attorneys to explain just how important this issue is to the entire organization.

    SCI requested that the Court schedule a hearing on its motion as soon as possible. The federal government has already informed SCI’s attorneys that they will oppose the preliminary injunction request. The government now has seven days to respond to SCI’s motion.

    SCI filed its Complaint in this lawsuit on April 21st. We have and will continue to make every effort to obtain an expeditious reversal of this blow to hunting and to African elephant conservation.



    Source: Safari Club International (SCI)
     
  19. Shakey

    Shakey GOLD SUPPORTER AH Veteran

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    Mine would be one of the 40 declarations submitted above .... One of the benefits of being a member of an organization such as SCI, DSC, etc. Individually our voices will never be heard. Collectively ... well, perhaps we have a slightly better chance.
     
  20. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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    SCI Members Lobby For International Hunting, Conservation In Washington, D.C.

    Washington, D.C. – Today over 150 members of Safari Club International (SCI) are lobbying their members of Congress for legislation and policies to improve hunting and international conservation. SCI’s annual Congressional Fly-In is the largest lobbying opportunity for big game hunters.

    “SCI’s members are more committed than ever to meet with their members of Congress during our annual Fly-In. Particularly since recent policy decisions for international big game hunting has become a target for this administration,” said SCI President Craig Kauffman. “Recent policy decisions have dismissed international big game management practices, and these policies have endangered conservation programs across Africa. The closure of sport hunted elephant imports from Zimbabwe and Tanzania, combined with ignoring the hunting community’s request for representation on the Wildlife Trafficking Advisory Committee means that international hunters need to stand up for our rights and our contributions to combat poaching.”

    More than 200 meetings will take place on May 8, 2014, as part of SCI’s annual Congressional Fly-In to protect the future of hunting in the U.S. and internationally.

    “For more than 75 years, hunters have been trailblazing a path for the future of our outdoor heritage and for wildlife conservation; it is our responsibility to carry the banner as individual sportsmen and women. Our meetings are the cornerstone to protect hunting for all hunters,” concluded Kauffman.



    Source: Safari Club International (SCI)
     

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