March 17, 2022
For Safari Club International (SCI), a new year means new opportunities to expand hunting and to improve wildlife conservation across the globe. In 2022, SCI is, as always, also committed to fighting the many threats to hunting access and conservation that continue to exist.
“In the United States, both hunting and conservation are threatened at the federal and state levels,” said W. Laird Hamberlin, CEO of SCI. “And SCI is in the unique position as the only hunting rights organization with a Washington, D.C.-based international advocacy team. We take such threats very seriously and are committed to representing hunting access here and abroad.”
In the U.S., for example, SCI carefully watches state ballot initiatives aimed at hunting and wildlife. Too often, these initiatives are rooted in emotion over science and leave wildlife decisions to the public, removing management from experts and wildlife professionals.
In Colorado, for example, the ill-advised Proposition 114, a wolf reintroduction initiative, was passed in 2021 but only by 50.58% of the vote. Meanwhile, wolves were naturally returning to Colorado, and wildlife professionals in that state’s game agency opposed the bill, which would require large sums of money to be spent on a species already returning on its own. We expect to see more of these ill-founded initiatives in the coming year.
In 2021, several state legislatures introduced international trophy bans. While Connecticut’s passed with neutering amendments, states like California and New York will doubtless pick up the fight again.
At the Federal level, SCI is fighting for a No-Net-Loss commitment from the Biden Administration following significant access expansions for hunting and fishing from the Trump Administration. A No-Net-Loss policy means maintaining the current hunting and fishing access level on federal public lands across the country. This is particularly relevant to the 30x30 initiative, and SCI is fighting to ensure the participation of hunters in conservation.
Last year, the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations bill was pushed by a continuing resolution into 2022 with a recently-extended deadline of March 11. Section 436 of the House bill included a de facto trophy import ban on hunted elephants and lions from Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. There is no question that this ban will have detrimental impacts on species conservation and the livelihoods of rural African communities.
Regulated hunting provides irreplaceable funding for conservation, biodiversity, and habitat protection in southern Africa and, without it, these wildlife species, and the communities of Africans who live with them, are put at tremendous risk. SCI is diligently working to ensure Section 436 is not included in the final bill.
Internationally, the United Kingdom’s Animals Abroad Bill seeks to protect wild and domestic animals by declaring them sentient beings. Of particular note is the radical trophy ban contained in the bill, which will prohibit the import of thousands of hunted species, particularly from Africa, into the country. This is in direct opposition to proven conservation strategies in Africa, the testimony of the scientific community, and the pleas of rural African communities.
Big Tech Censorship targets the hunting and conservation community, with Facebook, Instagram and others perpetuating stigmas against hunters. SCI has launched a petition against this censorship and speaks out on behalf of hunters and conservationists. Beyond the petition, we also invite hunters to share their testimonials on Big Tech with us to help us stand up to them.
“Unfortunately, these are just a few of the threats to hunting and conservation that must be contested in 2022,” Hamberlin added. “SCI is committed to defending our freedom to hunt here and around the world. Thank you to all who stand with us!”
To stand with SCI and protect hunting access, please sign the below petitions: