Why it matters: 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. Unfortunately, the language contained in this spending bill ignores the on-the-ground reality and seeks to use emotion to undermine some of the most successful conservation efforts in the world.
On Wednesday, the House Appropriations Committee voted to pass a funding bill for the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. Unfortunately, this bill includes language that would severely undermine well-regulated, science-based hunting efforts in Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and Zambia.
Specifically, Section 439 of the Interior Appropriations spending bill would prohibit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from using federal funds made available through this spending bill to issue import permits for elephant and lion trophies from Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Tanzania. This marks the fourth consecutive Interior Appropriations bill that the House has taken up that includes this short-sighted language.
Despite these perennial efforts by the House, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) has been able to defeat this language and prevent it from being included in a final spending package for the Department of the Interior. CSF is already working to ensure that this language is defeated and ultimately excluded from a final spending package. This includes a letter led in part by CSF that was signed by nearly 25 of the leading sporting-conservation organizations in opposition to this legislation.
The blanket prohibitions of Section 439 ignore sound 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, this legislation 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.
CSF will continue to push back on Section 439 to ensure this language is not included in a final spending package to safeguard well-regulated hunting-conservation efforts in Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and Zambia.
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?