Improvement of Trophy Inspection Protocols: Conservation Force has been assisting the National Customs Broker and Freight Forwarders Association of America and the National Taxidermists Association with numerous problems that arise during inspections when trophies are imported.
On Friday, April 4, 2008, Carol Rutkowski representing the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association, Coppersmith, Inc. and John Janelli, representing the National Taxidermists Association (www.national taxidermists.com) met with the staff of the Veterinary Services – Animal Products Division of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Rockville, Maryland. That staff is responsible for the wording of regulations and setting of procedures for the inspection of imported hunting trophies. One purpose of the meeting was to clarify that trophies that have been dipped, packed and dried overseas don’t have to be dipped again.
Thanks in large part to Carol’s efforts, a memo written by the USDA staff was published late last year on its website (http://www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/ncie/pdf/guide-imp-rum-tro.pdf) but it was not being implemented correctly at all US ports. That memo instructs Customs and Border Protection Agricultural Specialists (CBP/A) how to review documents and perform physical inspections of hunting trophies. The memo appears not to have been disseminated nationwide to all CBP/A staff. The memo completely changes how the CPB/A Specialist, at the first port of unloading, are to look at imported hunting trophies. The improved wording is so succinct that even the newest inspector should be able to read the documents and forward on, as unrestricted, the "dipped and packed" trophies to the port of entry.
A second dipping is not just an unnecessary duplication of expense; it has ruined the skins of some trophies, according to John Janelli of the National Taxidermists Association. John provided tanned and flint-dried capes of two warthogs to demonstrate the destruction and severely damaging results of improper dipping techniques. "Re-dipping usually runs around $65 per animal here in the US, which is duplication of what has already been done," said Carol. "It works out to $600 to $800 per shipment of unfinished trophies, which amounts to millions of dollars of added costs. Not every hunter is a rich person. Most hunters have worked and saved for years for their trip of a lifetime and all these unnecessary costs are quite burdensome," said Carol.
At this meeting, Carol also was finally successful, after six years of trying, to get the definition of "dip and pack" approved for inclusion in the Animal Products Manual. This will save international hunters the cost of having their trophies re-processed (dipped) in the US when they have already paid to have this done overseas. Foreign countries’ own health regulations require the dipping (chemical treatment) before trophies are exported.
Carol reports that "There still needs to be more interaction with this agency with regard to what they consider non-commercial versus commercial shipments, particularly as it refers to the number of animals being shipped and the mode of transportation on which they arrive into our country." John Janelli suggested that the NTA be included on the USDA advisory council when the time comes to review Veterinary Services Memorandum 593.5 which pertains to restricted imports – handling and disinfection regulations that have been on the books since 9/13/76.
Carol is a real trooper. It was she who spearheaded the effort to conform Zimbabwe’s CITES export permit forms to the new USF&WS internal CITES regulations that were adopted this past summer. It is partners like her that help us help you. John Janelli is likewise a hero. He has secured a position for the National Taxidermists Association (NTA) on the technical Advisory Board for all future revisions of the regulations. The NTA is an important and long-time supporter of Conservation Force.
Technical Workshop for the President’s Executive Order on Facilitation of Hunting Heritage and Wildlife Conservation: On April 6, 7 and 8, yours truly attended the Technical Workshop "to help develop a plan that will serve as the foundation for hunting and wildlife conservation for generations to come" (James L. Connaughton, Chairman, Executive Office of the President’s Council on Environmental Quality). This was the "Technical Workshop" to define the problems, goals, impediments and solutions in nine categories of issue topics. The nine issue topics were: 1) North American Model, 2) Habitat Conservation, 3) Energy, 4) Climate Change, 5) State, Tribal and Federal Management, 6) Funding, 7) Access, 8) Recruitment and Retention, and 9) Education.
The next planning workshop will be on policy in May in Washington, D.C. and the conference itself with President Bush – White House Conference on North American Wildlife Policy - will be in September. Shane Mahoney of Conservation Force’s Board of Directors was the principle speaker/expert on the Model and lived up to his reputation. He is the author and orator in the Opportunity for All DVD, the story of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation that is available from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Dallas Safari Club and elsewhere. Just a week before at the North American Wildlife Conference in Phoenix, Shane had delivered a paper jointly written by him and me on the North American Model and acceptance of components of it overseas (soon to be published in the North American Wildlife Journal).
The Model in and of itself attests to the important role hunters and anglers have played for 110 years to North American conservation. The Presi- dent’s Executive Order recognizes that and should in itself demonstrate the relevancy and importance of hunting to the non-hunting public. It is for that reason Conservation Force has distributed over 10,000 designer copies of the Executive Order and has just given the American Wildlife Conservation Partners $5,000 towards public relations broadcasting of the Order and planned Conference. The government organizers of the workshop also used Conservation Force’s parchment-paper, designer copy of the Executive Order for distribution and were very thankful for the way we had produced it. We alone have distributed over 10,000 copies.
If there was a theme of the workshop, it was the perpetuation of the North American Model. In fact, the conference and all supporting events were said to be "designed to achieve measurable outcomes to preserve and strengthen the North American Model." The model or system for the last 110 years has been largely funded and advanced by American hunters. The working group said it was "the greatest conservation movement in the world" and "one of the greatest achievements of American society." We must "reinvigorate the practices of the seven principles." We "must ensure the public understands that wildlife and wild places don’t exist by accident." (Shane Mahoney) Hunters are the force.
The North American Wildlife Conservation Technical Workshop was an historic event for North American hunting and conservation with many of the greatest minds of our time. I can’t overemphasize the importance of the Boone & Crockett leadership, the American Wildlife Conservation Partners (each and every one) and our own Board member Shane Mahoney as a gifted speaker and genuine authority on the all-important North American Model. The May policy workshop will be on general policy development, option prioritization/selection.
Conservation Force Leaders Recognized: Three of Conservation Force’s Board of Directors have been recognized once again, demonstrating the caliber of the Board and all that the members do around the world.
Founding Board member Dr. James Teer has been chosen to the Texas Hall of Fame. A book could be written about all that he has achieved. In fact, his autobiography is to be published in June. We will keep readers advised.
Shane Mahoney has been selected to receive Safari Club International’s Conservation of the Year Award at its May awards program in Washington, D.C. Shane will be the third Board member of Conservation Force to receive this truly prestigious award. Dr. James Teer and Dr. Bart O’Gara, both founding members of Conservation Force, have received the award in the past.
Yours truly received The President’s Award for 2008 from the Guide and Outfitters Association of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. during the GOABC’s annual conference. It was awarded for more than a decade of work and commitment on issues from grizzly bear hunting to representation of GOABC at CITES conferences around the world. The inscription on the statue reads: "Against the Wind – President’s Award for 2008. Awarded Annually to Recognize an Outstanding Contribution to Wildlife Stewardship and to the Guide Outfitting Industry in British Columbia." This is the fourth such award yours truly has received from a professional hunters association and the second in five months, the last being the Conservationist of the Year Award from the Namibian Professional Hunters Association on the other side of the world. Conservation Force receives support from ten professional hunters associations around the world and partners with many others. That confidence, support and encouragement is rewarding/awarding in itself. We are all a greater force for conservation because of that partnering.
Helping Hunting and Conservation Through Law Enforcement: The national forensic laboratory has asked Conservation Force for help. They need some horns and hoofs from Ethiopia to establish and maintain correct DNA data for their forensic DNA library. If you have some horns or hoofs from game in Ethiopia, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org; or by phone at 504-837-1233. Because the contribution comes through Conservation Force, a 501(c)(3) public charitable foundation, the contribution is tax deductible at the value of its tanning, but its value towards eliminating poaching is far greater than that. – John J. Jackson, III.