On July 22, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) lead an effort in opposition to two emotionally-driven pieces of legislation that would undermine some of the most successful and important conservation programs worldwide. Specifically, CSF helped orchestrate a letter that was sent to the leadership of the House of Representatives in opposition to H.R. 2245, the Conserving Ecosystems by Ceasing the Importation of Large Animal Trophies (CECIL) Act, and Section 436 of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill (H.R. 7608).
H.R. 2245 and Section 436 of the Interior Appropriations bill would prohibit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from issuing permits for the importation of legally and sustainably harvested elephant and lion trophies from Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Tanzania. Both of these legislative proposals are strongly opposed by many organizations in the international wildlife conservation community as well as the countries that would be most impacted by these emotionally-driven proposals. Unfortunately, H.R. 7608 passed the House on Friday, July 24 on a highly partisan vote. Prior to the passage of H.R. 7608, CSF sent alerts to Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) Members urging the adoption of an amendment offered by CSC Member Rep. Jeff Duncan (SC), which would have removed Section 436, and would have ensured the future of some of the most important international wildlife conservation programs, but the amendment failed on a partisan vote. Fortunately, H.R. 2245 has not yet been scheduled for a vote and CSF is working to ensure this bill does not receive consideration on the House floor.
Actively managed and regulated hunting, often conducted by Americans, is the conservation linchpin of these species populations that are stable, growing and in many instances, are at or above ecological and / or social carrying capacity. The blanket prohibitions of these proposals ignore credible science that clearly demonstrate the conservation benefit of existing hunting programs – programs that enable local host countries to support some of the largest elephant and lion populations in the world. Further, these proposals would deprive these countries of significant sources of conservation funding generated by the fees and other expenditures paid by U.S. hunters that are essential to range country efforts to maintain large wildlife populations.
H.R. 7608 now heads to the U.S. Senate where CSF is working to ensure that Section 436 is not included in any final appropriations agreement.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?