The following six proposals are those related to the listing, or more importantly the delisting, for trophy hunting trade. Conservation Force will be there at CoP 15 with IPHA, CIC and others to represent your interests. We also serve on several CITES groups like the Purpose Code and also the Livelihoods Working Group, which are as important as the listing proposals but too much to cover here.
Proposal 5 – African Elephant: Proposal by Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone and Republic of Congo to delete the annotation that no further proposals be submitted to allow trade in ivory from Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe and replace it with a new annotation prohibiting any trade anywhere (ALL countries) for 20 years from November 2008. Also to delete the paragraph (8) annotation permitting any certified ekipas trade in Namibia and ivory carvings in Zimbabwe.
This proposal would for 20 years prohibit downlisting of all elephant for all purposes, including annotations for trophy hunting purposes that are not already on Appendix II for trophy hunting purposes, like Zimbabwe, Botswana, RSA and Namibia. This would be an unnecessary hardship on Tanzania and Zambia that are seeking trophy hunting annotations during the next 20 years and perhaps Mozambique in the future. The proposal suggests that “ALL trade in ivory” be suspended for 20 years, which is so broad that it would erroneously include trophy trade.
The African elephant is no longer considered threatened on the 2009 IUCN Red List. Despite poaching, the overall population continues to increase according to IUCN. We are also concerned that undue weight be placed upon the potential of the yet-unformed African Elephant Fund and the African Elephant Action Plan, which are being established for elephant conservation. We doubt the funding will be adequate or that it will be directed to the most important and viable populations. Proposal 6 – Nile Crocodile: Proposal by Egypt to transfer its population from Appendix I to Appendix II.
Nile crocodile are listed as Lower Risk/Least Concern on the 2009 IUCN Red List. The Crocodile Management Unit in Egypt, in coordination with the Crocodile Specialist Group of the IUCN, has taken management steps (including surveying and coordination) for the express purpose of sustainable utilization. But for that plan, these crocodile would not be receiving that conservation. This is an example where the potential for sustainable use has incentivized management action and can provide the necessary revenue for management that would not otherwise exist. Regulated trade is a better alternative than no management, no monitoring, no tagging and little law enforcement, all of which could negatively impact other populations of the species. It is important that the growing Lake Nasser population be managed and this proposal seems to be the prudent and reasonable means of achieving that management. The transfer to Appendix II would facilitate the utilization, particularly limited hunting tourism and its potential benefits.
Proposal 38 – Tanzania Elephant: Proposal by Tanzania to transfer its elephant to Appendix II conditionally with an annotation, including (a) trophy trade, (b) one-off sale, (c) trade in raw hides and (d) trade in live animals.
Tanzania has the second largest elephant population in Africa, which is growing at the rate of five percent per annum, 136,753. The current utilization of African elephant in Tanzania is only through sport hunting. Provision of 25 percent of the revenue from sport hunting is directed to the communities and conservation activities at the district level. More than 90 percent of the revenue for the Tanzania Wildlife Protection Fund is generated from fees associated with sport hunting. Tanzania’s elephant hunting quota is only 200 per year, which is less than 0.14 of the population and, although the number hunted has been growing, the number taken continues to be less than one-half the nominal quota because of further restrictions on length and weight of tusks. Despite this, the stricter domestic measures and low priority treatment by some important import countries, USA, has repeatedly delayed the issuance of trophy import permits until the hunting season is nearly over, causing hunt cancellations and loss of important revenue. Tanzania needs to transfer its elephant to Appendix II for trophy trade to secure its conservation base that has been solely limited to trophy hunting by tourist hunters. The United States, the largest market of safari tourist hunters, refuses to accept quotas, the non-detriment determination of exporting countries, and insists upon making its own biological and management findings annually before authorizing trophy import permits, yet does not have the resources itself to make those determinations timely. The transfer for trophy hunting purposes, section a, would facilitate that conservation tool and certainly not be detrimental to the elephant. Proposal 40 – Lynx rufus (Bobcat): Proposal by USA to delete the species from Appendix II.
This species is not at risk and never was thought to be at risk. It has easily distinguishable features such that it is not truly a “look alike” species. The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies has done substantial work to ensure it is not confused with other listed felids, Lynn Spp. It would save American hunters millions of dollars in administrative costs if the bobcat is downlisted because they are the ones that pay the bills.
Prop. 41 – Polar Bear: USA proposal to transfer all polar bear from Appendix II to Appendix I. (Recommended to USF&WS by WWF.) Polar bear are not threatened by trade today. At the most, there is some unquantified and unquantifiable threat of stress projected decades in the future. That is not reason to eliminate well-managed sustainable use today. It is contrary to the very concept of sustainable use to deny the indigenous people the managed use of their valued resources prematurely, and the listing can be expected to be to the detriment of the species.
The polar bear population is at or near an all-time high (8,000 – 10,000 in 1965-1970 and a minimum of 25,000 today). Though the Western Hudson Bay population seemed to have declined over a 17-year period by 290 bear, some of those bear have since been located within the same management area, the harvest level has been reduced and that population is probably recovering. The nature of that small decline is not entirely clear. It is disputed in Polar bears of Western Hudson Bay and Climate Change are warming spring air temperatures the “ultimate” survival, m.g. Duck, W. Saon, R.K. Bayclark, D.R. Legates, S. Balivnor, T.F. Ball, L.O. Hancock. Overall increases in population, such as Davis Strait (incorrectly treated as “data deficient” by IUCN because the completed survey work has not been published), which has never had or needed summer ice, have increased – fully offsetting any alleged total population decline in other areas. Although harvest levels in some areas may have been excessive, they have since been reduced in the adaptive management process. Any declines in habitat are deminimus in comparison to most other species in the world.
Few species on the globe have maintained the overall range and isolation available to the bear, which continue to be robust today. The bear is not threatened by trade, and the “effects” of regulated trade are widely thought to be beneficial, not negative. An uplisting would be contrary to the very concept of sustainable use.
The IUCN treats the polar bear as “vulnerable,” not threatened. That is how it has always been treated except for one short period. The recent return to “vulnerable” was based upon a possible future decline of 30 percent within three generations (45 years), which itself was an error because three generations is 36 years (12 x 3). “Vulnerable” is not endangered. Appendix I should be reserved for species that really need and warrant that listing.
There are many mechanisms to adjust harvest levels and trade that come into play before an Appendix I listing is warranted. Uplisting would set a dangerous precedent, harm the livelihoods of local people and upset the conservation strategy of those that manage the bear the best.
We agree with Canada that “a sustainable and well-managed hunt is an important part of a conservation plan” and the proposed transfer “will have no impact on quotas, but it might have a negative impact on conservation.” Furthermore, we agree with Norway that “it is premature to uplist the polar bear.” (Consultations from those countries with USA.) Proposal 42 – Zambia Elephant: Zambia’s proposal to transfer its elephant from Appendix I to Appendix II for limited purposes, including (a) trade in hunting trophies, (b) live animals, (c) raw hides, (d) one-off sale.
Zambia has an elephant population of 26,382, which is greater than that of some other Appendix II countries, and the number is increasing. It has only had a sport hunting quota of 20 elephant per year since 2005 but important importing countries (USA) have not been able to make a non-detriment finding due to stricter domestic measures and their low prioritization of such permit application processing. For five years the quota has been less than one one-thousandth of the elephant population. Fifty percent of the registered hunting revenue has been dedicated to impacted local people, but the Appendix I listing has hampered the trade in trophies that is part of the management regime. Part (a) of the proposal would facilitate trophy trade and a larger, more beneficial quota of 120 per year, still less than .05 percent of the population.
Fifty percent of the revenue goes to the local communities and all of the revenue will now be pledged to conservation, including monitoring, research and law enforcement. The trophy hunting is essential as an economic incentive mechanism for the conservation of the elephant and to fund the management infrastructure and strategy. No alternative is as attractive. – John J. Jackson, III.