Opportunity For SCI Members To Comment On Black Rhino Import Permit Request

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is currently accepting comments regarding the importation of a conservation hunted black rhino trophy from Namibia. Animal rights groups members have submitted hundreds of comments asking the Service to deny the import. Their comments are not based on facts, but on emotion. It’s time for SCI members to set the record straight.

Safari Club International (SCI) and Safari Club International Foundation (SCIF) have been at the forefront of the fight in supporting hunting as an effective wildlife management tool. SCIF has worked with Namibia on a number of projects, including an anti-poaching project to help secure their rhinos, elephants, lions and other species. (Read the full SCIF report here.) Hunting plays an important role in empowering rural communities to exercise stewardship over their natural resources by providing incentives to conserve wildlife.

The permit to import the black rhino trophy is being requested by Texas hunter Lacy Harber. According to reports, Mr. Harber harvested an old male rhino that was killing other rhinos. The Namibian government documented that the male rhino had already killed two adult female rhinos and three juvenile rhinos. It was necessary to remove it to prevent it from further killing more rhinos and preventing others from breeding. Rather than spending government money to remove rhinos, the hunting program in Namibia allows a limited number of black rhino hunters to harvest problem rhinos. In exchange, the hunters provide much-needed benefits to rhino conservation.

The rhino provided 4,500 pounds of meat that were distributed to needy families, $275,000 paid to the Namibian government for rhino conservation efforts, and an additional contribution of $20,000 for anti-poaching efforts.

In a 2016 briefing paper by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), trophy hunting was recognized as critical to Namibia’s success in community based natural resource management. The report states that “recent analysis indicates that if revenues from trophy hunting were lost, most conservancies would be unable to cover their operating costs – they would become unviable, and both wildlife populations and local benefits would decline dramatically.” (View the IUCN briefing paper on Informing decisions on Trophy Hunting here.)

Additionally, the 183 countries around the world that are parties of the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) agree that Namibia’s black rhino hunting program benefits the species. A CITES resolution, adopted in 2004, recognizes that “the financial benefits derived from trophy hunting of a limited number of [black rhinos] will benefit the conservation of the species directly and provide additional incentives for conservation and habitat protection, when such hunting is done within the framework of national conservation and management plans and programmes.” In the same document, CITES approved the establishment of an annual export quota of five hunting trophies of adult male black rhinoceros from Namibia.

The request for a permit to import the trophy has met all the requirements set out by experts in both the IUCN and CITES and should be approved. SCI urges our members and those in the hunting community to send comments to the Service supporting the request for a permit. You can access the website for information on submitting comments here. Comments are due by Feb. 5, 2018.



Source: Safari Club international (SCI)
 

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