The first issue of the World Conservation Force Bulletin appeared as an insert in The Hunting Report in January 1997. It is an educational bulletin voluntarily written without compensation, without missing a single issue in all these years. This is the 207th uninterrupted Bulletin. That first issue covered nine topics from the prohibition against gun ownership by anyone convicted for the misdemeanor crime of domestic violence to the IUCN’s rejection of the membership application of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). It included the fact that Ducks Unlimited had crossed the billion dollar mark in conservation expenditures and that the implementing regulations for polar bear trophy imports were imminent.
The continuation of the Bulletin as a public service is part of Conservation Force’s Long Term Plan for the next 10 years. The volumes serve as historical archives of the struggle to use hunting as a greater tool for conserving the natural world, wildlife and incentivizing the rural people that determine the fate of both. Some readers have complained that some issues are too technical, which we fully understand. Just don’t shoot the messenger for a best effort to identify and describe the real forces at play. We will try to spend a little more time defining the terms and explaining the concepts for those that have not been readers from the beginning. So, please bear with us as we parenthetically retrace old steps in future issues. Someone has to do it and tell it like it is even if it is not all fun. For example, someone has to discover that all the lenient sections concerning recreational trophy trade have been deleted from the Import Wildlife Inspection section of the Service Manual used by the US Fish & Wildlife Service and that a “seizure shall be preferred” clause has been inserted in their place. Someone has to expose the falsified scientific findings of the USFWS to protect administrations from feared political backlash due to allowing trophy imports. Someone has to dispel the misrepresentation that an ESA listing provides benefits for foreign species and expose how the negative impact of a listing can’t be a consideration in the listing process, according to USFWS.
Conservation Force itself started taking shape at the same time as the Bulletin. It reached the point of formal incorporation as a 501(c)(3) public, charitable foundation in September of 1997, nearly 18 years ago. Our largely pro bono science and legal professional services to the hunting community date back to the early 80s, more than a decade before the formation of Conservation Force and over 30 years ago. We were hard set for the fight by the time of our double defeat of the antis’ ESA proposal to list all African elephant as endangered and our successful suit against USFWS to compel the processing of elephant trophy import permits. There has been no looking back.
The initial cost of printing the Bulletin was borne by the International Professional Hunters Association (IPHA), Professional Hunters Association of South Africa (PHASA), Dallas and Houston Safari Clubs and International Game Foundation (IGF), then by IGF alone and now by Grand Slam Club/OVIS. Thank you all.