The International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC) held its 54th General Assembly in Belgrade this year. The theme was “Passion for Wildlife Means Caring for People.” It was truly a world forum for conservation through sustainable hunting. Hunting experts and opinion leaders the world over joined together for five days to address every imaginable issue.
Conservation Force Board Members Shane Mahoney, Gerhard Damm and yours truly, John Jackson, serve on various commissions and on the Executive Committee. We were joined by PHASA President Stewart Dorrington, Rowland-Ward Chairman and author, Peter Flack, FAO Assistant Director General Jan Heino, Rolf Baldus, Gray Thornton and Ben Carter of Dallas Safari Club, FNAWS President Ray Lee, the CITES Secretariat’s Scientific Officer Steven Nash, FACE CEO Yves Lecocq, Chris Weaver of WWF in Namibia, Don Causey of the Hunting Report and hundreds of others. The gathering was a great social event as well as a productive meeting.
The event began with a day-long workshop on carnivores. One interesting discovery arose about “Bruno” the bear. “Bruno” was the first bear to migrate into Germany in 170 years. Of course, the media and NGOs led everyone to believe that he should be saved and bears should be re-introduced. Ultimately, the problem bear had to be killed. The point of the story is that a survey of the German people was done that disclosed just the opposite of the perception created by the media and NGOs. By far, most people did not want bears and did not favor their re-introduction. It makes sense that people don’t want a bear in their own backyard, but that truth is not necessarily what is spouted by special interest groups and newspapers.
Another special program was jointly put on by the CIC and Gerhard Damm of African Indaba. That included organized presentations and reviews of trophy hunting, hunting trophies and trophy recording. The dialogue is a large part of the June issue of African Indaba which covers the three subjects in depth. In the May issue, you can read articles by Stewart Dorrington and Peter Butland, President and President-Elect of PHASA; Peter Flack, Chairman of Rowland Ward; Raymond Lee of FNAWS; Douglas Yajko, Chairman of the SCI Trophy Records Committee;, and Jack Reneau, Director of Boone and Crockett Club’s Big Game Records. The distribution of African Indaba is supported by CIC and Conservation Force. It can be found at http://www.africanindaba.co.za; or on Conservation Force’s website at http://www.conservationforce.org. What Gerhard has achieved is a sound analysis of all three – trophy hunting, hunting trophies and trophy recording – which we can’t possibly duplicate here. Nevertheless, the work is done and can be found on the web. Other notable developments at the CIC meeting were:
• Gerhard Damm and CIC’s experts provided a written strategy to reopen sound tourist hunting in China. China had a four person delegation at CIC led by Dr. Chundong Wang. The CIC’s Commission on Sustainable Use also appointed Ray Lee of FNAWS as a specialist expert of the Commission to help advise and reopen the hunting in China.
• Stewart Dorrington was added as a Vice President of the Sustainable Use Commission because of his extraordinary leadership of PHASA, as well as a special new transformation project he has helped spark for black economic empowerment (BEE) in South Africa. That is the Madikwe Corrdior project which will provide opportunities and land for the training of black professional hunters and the conduct of tourist hunting by those trained.
• The CIC’s Commission on Sustainable Use also issued an Analysis of Proposals and Matters of CITES COP14, The Hague. This bears special importance because of CIC’s connection to the EU countries that have a 27-country block vote at CITES. Yours truly is the President of that Commission and consequently a member of the Executive Committee of CIC – an organization with growing importance. The CIC had a leadership role in virtually all of the workshops over the past few years designed to ensure the sustainability of tourist hunting.
The 55th meeting next year promises to be particularly exciting! That meeting is to be in Marrakech, Morocco, the 21st through the 26th of April, 2008. If you wish to join and attend, contact Chrissie Jackson of Conservation Force at firstname.lastname@example.org; or 504-837-1233. Chrissie heads the US delegation of CIC.