Prohibition Against Scrimshawed Tusks Challenged: The 2007 USF&WS regulation against the import of “crafted” or “worked” trophies of listed species is being litigated in Federal District Courts in Atlanta and New York. In both cases, hunters’ Appendix II elephant tusks were seized because they had the Big Five scrimshawed/pencil-etched on one surface. Conservation Force has filed motions to dismiss the forfeiture cases. Law Enforcement claims if it is scrimshawed, it is no longer a trophy and thus on Appendix I for trade purposes. They claim if it is not a trophy import, it is prohibited under the African Elephant Conservation Act and can’t be imported under any circumstances. This means a permit can’t even be issued to let it in. We filed claims to get the matter into Federal Court rather than just surrender the tusks. Our position is that the ESA has a provision exempting Appendix II non-commercial trade from regulation, and the African Elephant Conservation Act expressly exempts trophies. Furthermore, the USF&WS can’t change the listing of a species by a mere internal regulation. The legal memorandum is on the News and Alerts page of Conservation Force’s web site at www. conservationforce.org/news.html.
Polar Bear Briefs Completed: Conservation Force completed three briefs in February and March on different polar bear challenges. We are waiting on the Government and the antis to complete their replies over the next few months. Oral arguments will be heard in stages during the summer.
The first was our final brief to establish import when the hunting “substantially enhances the maintenance or recovery” of a depleted population. We hope to at least get those permit denials remanded back to the USF&WS. This case may ultimately lead to importation of some polar bear in limited instances in the future.
The second brief was the supplemental brief the Court allowed for all those we represent in our suit to challenge the legality of the polar bear’s listing as a threatened species under the US Endangered Species Act. The brief focused on the obvious failure of the Government to “take into account” Canada’s conservation system and the negative consequences of the listing that were not taken into consideration. “Taking into account” is a separate threshold determination enumerated in the listing section that the USF&WS conspicuously never even acknowledged in the whole process, unlike each of the other factors. It is long past time that this be made an issue when the listing of foreign species is over the objections of foreign countries. Of course, to truly show consideration to a foreign nation’s program the USF&WS should not list those distinct populations that may do well, or those parts of its range that may even improve. The more uncertain the science, the greater the reason not to disrupt another country’s program. The third brief was a joint brief with other challengers of the listing. All three briefs can be viewed at www.conservationforce.org/news.html.
Mongolia Argali Fairing Well: There is good news about Mongolia. The two separate argali surveys completed in late 2009 document that the argali population is healthy and growing. What I will describe as the Friscina and the Harris reports were both positive.
The Friscina report is significant because it is a repeat of the 2002 population survey. Being the same protocol and month, it demonstrated a positive trend. The Frisina study shows more argali and a higher percentage of rams, as expected, because it was in the rut in November when they are concentrated. The number is 26,155, which is 29.3 percent higher than 20,226 estimated in 2002. The Frisina Report is entitled Mongolian Argali Population Trend 2002-2009 with reference to sustainable use management by Michael R. Frisina, Baigalmaa Purevsuren and R. Margaret Frisina, February 2010. It can be viewed at www.conservationforce.org/news.html.
The report by Dr. Richard Harris arises from a survey he designed and did nearly two months before that employed a different methodology. The Harris report included ibex as well as argali. It is entitled 2009 National Assessment of Mountain Ungulates in Mongolia by Richard Harris, Ganchi- meg Wingard and Badamjavin Lhag- vasuren.
Together, the two serve to increase the confidence level, i.e. confidence that population numbers are true and the population trend is increasing or stable at the very least.
Lion King Award: In January, Conservation Force had its own award to bestow on the individual/entity that contributed critical funding to the development of national action plans for lion in 2009. The winner was Eric Pasanisi of Tanganyika Safaris. He contributed the first substantial sum that kicked off the national action plan campaign, contributed to the most action plans from Benin to Tanzania and contributed the largest amount, exceeding $50,000.
I can’t express how important his leadership was at that time. Right on his heels was second runner-up Dan Friedkin/Legendary Safaris. Dan and his safari operation have long been leaders in lion conservation. In third place was Raoul Ramoni. See Conservation Force’s Photo Gallery web site for pictures of some of the donors receiving their certificates of recognition and Eric Pasanisi receiving the Lion King award.
Everyone seems to take credit for keeping the lion from being formally proposed for uplisting to Appendix I at CITES CoP15. That is because they all contributed in varying degrees, and every contribution counted. All those contributions that came to Conservation Force were passed through 100 percent, yet our pledges fell short and still must be reckoned with. The preparation of national action plans that began in 2009 must be completed in 2010, so we are still accepting tax-deductible contributions fully dedicated to African lion action plans. Conservation Force started the campaign and pledged the most, but the actual funds arose from true unsung heroes like Eric Pasanisi, Dan Friedkin, Raoul Ramoni and hundreds of others. The uplisting proposal that the antis passed around from country to country was declined because of the important work of the hunting community.
The campaign in 2010 has been kicked off by Bob Kern of The Hunting Consortium with a $7,500 contribution. If you dedicate a donation, the full amount goes in the field. One hundred percent of each and every lion contribution went to the lion action plans, plus some.
Jacksons Receive Award: Yours truly received another award, and this one went to both Chrissie and I. The award was presented at the Final Convention Dinner of Grand Slam Club/OVIS in Las Vegas. It is entitled Board of Directors Award and states To John and Chrissie Jackson, in appreciation for years of service and dedication to the mission and ideals of Grand Slam Club/OVIS.
GS/OVIS has long supported Conservation Force and actually funds the printing cost of this monthly bulletin.
Bruce Keller Wins Weatherby Award: Bruce Keller was this year’s winner of the Weatherby Award. He summed his hunting up by saying, “I know that I am happiest when I am hunting.” Aren’t we all so lucky to be hunters?
Bruce also directed one-half of his award money to Conservation Force. The stipend is given to award winners for the conservation charity of their choice. Congratulations and thank you, Bruce. Many of the past recipients support Conservation Force and a number have directed the award funds to Conservation Force. We are proud to say that the greatest hunters in the world support what we do.
Another Muzzleloader Hunter Fined: Another hunter has been fined $2,000 for attempting to travel with pyrodex powder, primers and a bottle of bore cleaner in his checked bag. All three are prohibited, hazardous items.
This is a serious matter. It may flag hunters as passengers that need more thorough inspection. Be forewarned.