"Hunting provides the principal incentive and revenue
for conservation. Hence it is a force for conservation."
(Editor Note: All material contained in this section is provided by famed wildlife and hunting attorney John J. Jackson, III with whom The Hunting Report has formed a strategic alliance. The purpose of the alliance is to educate the hunting community as well as proadvocacy of hunting rights opportunities. More broadly, the alliance will also seek to open up new hunting opportunities worldwide and ward off attacks on currently available opportunities.)
Special Report: A Preview Of COP 12
The 12th Conference of the Parties of CITES (COP 12) is to be held November 3-15 in Santiago, Chile. This is the Convention that lists game species and controls their export and import permitting. The deadline for submission of agenda items, such as proposals for listing species, has passed. We now know what the issues are going to be, and we have begun to prepare for them, though many documents still are not available.
There are no game species listing surprises this time. This is due in part to our preparatory work. Game species that are already listed that will be at issue are: African elephant (including Zambian elephants for the first time); leopard (including snow and clouded leopard); markhor in Pakistan; rhino; all bear trade; musk deer; Tibetan antelope; Saiga antelope; and tiger.
One interesting resolution has been submitted by Norway. It proposes that the Committees of CITES develop means of incorporating the principle of sustainable use in the operation of CITES, as well as in the listing process. The purpose is to create local conservation incentives and revenue through trade of species, rather than administering CITES exclusively as a restrictive and protective convention. The proposal points out that CITES has passed a resolution and signed a memorandum of co-operation with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The CBD supports sustainable use: therefore, so should CITES. The proposal does not state how this is to be done. Instead, it suggests that the various Committees devise how it is to be accomplished and report back at the Conference after this one, COP 13.
This will be very controversial, but CITES has in fact agreed to cooperate with the CBD. The antis will also be alarmed because of Norway’s usual interest in the sustainable use of whale.
There are two matters concerning leopard in Africa. First, the CITES Secretariat is recommending changes in the manner in which leopard trophy quotas are administered. Only 700 leopard trophies per year are exported from 11 countries out of a combined annual quota of 2,085 for 11 countries. None of those countries exceed their quotas. The Secretariat states that “[t]here seems little justification for requiring” the “special report” these countries must annually make, or for the complex tagging system that the leopard quota resolution requires to deter illegal trade. The Secretariat goes so far as to state that these are the minimal changes it “recommends.” It recommends that the Parties should consider repealing the leopard quota for hunting purposes completely. There is no real justification for all the conditions and reporting requirements that were contained in the original resolution that created leopard quotas.
This is a very interesting report indeed. In short, the Parties have buried themselves in red tape that no one legitimately believes is important in a real conservation sense, and they did so originally due to anxiety that sporthunting trade in leopard trophies required special precautions. Special precautions are neither justified nor are over-prudent expenditures of time and money. The concern that low-volume leopard hunting would stimulate illegal leopard fur trade of any consequence has not been borne out, according to the proposal.
The second matter concerning leopard is a proposal by Tanzania to increase its quota from 250 to 500. Tanzania is the only country that nearly exceeds its quota each year, which is quite obviously due to its quota being half of what it should be. Tanzania’s quota is only half of Zimbabwe’s quota of 500. Yet, Zimbabwe has less than half the leopard habitat of Tanzania. Tanzania’s smaller quota also presents a problem when trophies from previous years are being simultaneously exported with trophies from current years. When both are combined, it falsely appears that the quota has been exceeded. Tanzania’s proposal recites the history of the Appendix 1 listing of all leopard, noting that it “was not based on any scientific data” and “[w]hether the leopard was endangered at the time is contestable on a global basis.”
Another interesting historical note is that the spotted cat fur trade was greatly reduced before the African leopard was listed on Appendix I. The fur trade industry had already reduced the trade voluntarily through agreements. The authors of the Tanzania proposal quote from a Rowan Martin and Tom de Meulenaer report at COP 6 in 1987 that the African leopard population was believed to be 600,000 to 850,000 and that “leopard was much more valuable through sporthunting than it could be through commercial trade” particularly as “an appropriate form of land use in non-protected uninhabited areas.” That report said that in Tanzania a five percent sport hunting offtake (1,825) would be a “safe harvest.” Tanzania’s proposal states that the country’s original 1987 request for a low quota of 250 leopard per year was based upon the expected need of its developing safari industry at that time, rather than the status and productivity of its leopard population. It was far less than the population warranted, but Tanzania only asked for what it then needed.
A recent review was completed by Tanzania itself in February 2002. Of note, from 1993 to 1999, 30 people were killed by leopards, and 49 more were injured in Tanzania! The figure is thought to be conservative since some incidents are not reported. The recent review also demonstrates that the new quota will still be far below the sustainable take limit of leopard. It will be a level of no consequence. Tanzania is undoubtedly the leopard hunting capital of Africa. By virtue of its wild habitat, more leopards are harvested by hunters in Tanzania than any other country. Zambia and Zimbabwe have higher authorized CITES quotas but don’t take as many leopard as Tanzania. Even the minimum 21-day hunt requirement imposed by Tanzania does not deter Tanzania from having the greatest harvest in the world. My own personal experience confirms that Tanzania is overrun with leopards.
CITES has adopted Resolutions and Decisions during the past three conferences to better control the trade in bear parts. The Secretariat has rendered a Report about those actions for this Conference. The office does not believe some recent recommendations are “sensible, efficient or cost-effective.” It recommends deleting five Decisions concerning bear adopted at the last Conference and recommends repealing bear protection actions urged upon the Parties at the 10th Conference. Apparently, the CITES Secretariat has begun to recognize that the response to the perceived bear trade crisis has been an over-reaction. It should be moderated, at least to some extent. The Secretariat mentions that a lot of the alleged bear parts trade has, in fact, been fraudulent. The gall bladders of pigs have been represented and sold as bear gall bladders.
A rhinoceros resolution from an earlier Conference of the Parties, COP 9, is also to be reviewed. That resolution requested countries with rhino to file a report six months prior to each Conference. The report is supposed to provide the up-to-date population status of that country’s rhino and five other points of information. The Secretariat is recommending the repeal of that resolution because it is “unlikely to result in improved controls of trade,” and it is not being “implemented by most Parties concerned.” This is another housekeeping recommendation by the Secretary. The office does state that Namibia and South Africa did file reports for this upcoming Conference. “The reports reflect effective conservation management of the globally important rhinoceros populations . . . as evident from increases in population sizes and the number of subpopulations, the ongoing refinement of conservation planning at national level, the considerable investment in the monitoring and protection of their populations despite generally limited resources for conservation, (and) the role of specialized protection units and also community programs.” Though the reports are informative, “the Secretariat expressed doubt about the value of resolutions such as this, in particular to the rhinoceros range states.” Amen...! Range states don’t need unnecessary paperwork burdens.
The USF&WS has introduced a discussion paper that calls for the establishment of an “Export Quota Working Group” at COP 12. It wants to establish a “mechanism to review the biological basis of quotas” established by exporting Parties. These are the quotas that party countries set for themselves internally for Appendix II species. “At present, there is no agreed-upon mechanism for Parties or the Secretariat to review and make adjustments to export quotas that do not appear to be reasonable based on the biology of the taxon concerned.” This is a very dangerous proposal that has been instigated by written comments from animal rights organizations made to the USF&WS as suggestions. We have worked long and hard to stop the USF&WS from duplicating the biological Appendix I non-detriment findings of exporting nations. Now, the USF&WS wants to do the same thing for Appendix II species, by challenging the internal quotas range nations set for themselves.
This has an ironic history. First, CITES conducted a series of workshops around the world to advise Parties how to better make their non-detriment determinations. One possible technique suggested to developing nations was that they adopt internal quotas as a device to help structure their process. Parties were urged to do it to avoid the need for oversight and to avoid the imposition of stricter domestic measures by importing countries. Now that more Parties have adopted internal quotas (an increase of 20 percent in one year), the internal quotas themselves are the professed concern.
The USF&WS has long had its own agenda concerning non-detriment determinations. It has always wanted to judgmentally make the exporting country’s biological and management review as parts of its own importing review. We disrupted that temporarily with the elephant suit, but the USF&WS is back at it again. The elephant, of course, was an Appendix 1 species. Now, the USF&WS is trying to extend their duplication and review of the exporting country’s science and management to Appendix II species. Under CITES, only exporting nations issue permits for Appendix II species, but the USF&WS now wants to oversee that. Thus the USF&WS will in effect be making the exporting nation’s determination for them through oversight and criteria requirements. Export permits will not be accepted at the borders of importing countries. It should be noted the USF&WS has publicized its own agenda. It has proposed “internal” USF&WS CITES guidelines for itself in the Federal Register. The internal guidelines authorize the Service to go behind and reject export permits for Appendix II species. Needless to say we have opposed that proposal and have even filed a “notice of intent to sue” should it be adopted.
Exporting nations, not importing nations, are supposed to make biological non-detriment findings, but the USF&WS keeps trying to remake the biological findings of the exporting nation, as well as its own findings of the “purpose of the import.”
Germany is no better. Germany has been responsible for numerous anti-hunting proposals at recent Conferences. It has its own proposal to set “conditions” that “have to be met” for an exporting country’s own internal quota management system. It has a draft Resolution entitled IMPROVING THE MANAGEMENT OF ANNUAL EXPORT QUOTAS that provides that “[i]mport countries shall not accept export permits for specimens subject to the national quota that does not comply . . .” with the conditions Germany is proposing. It proposes that “importing countries should establish measures which ensure” this. It proposes that “[R]egulations are needed that countries of origin set quotas considering the sustainable use of the species and populations concerned and to keep exports in line with the quotas fixed, as well as importing countries implement measures to check export quotas.” This is scary.
One of the more important proposals is the proposed amendment to the criteria for listing species. When the present criteria were adopted at COP 9, it was agreed that it would be reviewed at COP 12. The criteria for Appendix II species have been found to be “ambiguous and difficult to apply with any confidence.” This we expect will be the focus of the reform at this Conference.
The African lion is not proposed for Appendix 1 listing as rumored. The lion is on Appendix II and remains so. No responsible authority, including the new African Lion Working Group of IUCN’s Cat Specialist Group, thinks the African lion is threatened or endangered at this time. Conservation Force and the International Foundation for the Conservation of Wildlife have just completed an all-of-Africa survey on the status of lion in Africa. It is in publication at this time and will be available shortly. More can be learned about it in a future World Conservation Force Bulletin. It is the most comprehensive African lion study ever done. More than 40 authorities were consulted and the publication is expected to be 200 pages in length.
Though the overall lion population status has not declined in the last decade, we do believe additional lion conservation and management efforts are warranted. The lion population is twice as high as thought. That estimate was conservatively established. On the high side, there may be 50,000 lions. Our new report includes many areas for which the IUCN African Lion Working Group had no information, or had incomplete information. We at Conservation Force are very proud to have contracted this important, timely and constructive survey. A special thanks is due to Steven Chancellor, who has provided most of the funding for this one-of-a-kind review. This is just one of the many programs Conservation Force is quietly developing behind the scenes on your behalf. The lion survey is only the first phase of our planned efforts to help conserve and manage this important member of the “Big Five.”
Hunting Saves Lions: The July 2002 issue of National Geographic featured an article of special interest in its conservation section. It was titled, “Can Hunting Save Lions?” The focus of the article was a subject dear to our hearts, i.e., the closure of lion hunting in Botswana. The first paragraph told of the closure. The rest, four paragraphs, quoted opinions that the closure is not in the best interest of the survival of the lion. The piece quotes Paul Funston of South Africa’s Endangered Wildlife Trust as stating, “The real solution lies in giving the local people incentives to tolerate lions on their land.” Instead of maintaining the ban on lion hunting, Funston believes Botswana’s government should allow trophy hunters to kill some lions that habitually raid livestock. Fees paid by the hunters would go to the farmers.
The fact is that is what lions do. They eat cattle for a living. Moreover, there have been substantial programs funded by international donor agencies in Botswana to make local people the beneficiaries of their lions through safari hunting. Those lions have been put to waste by the closure. Conservation Force funded a Predator Workshop in Botswana that brought in authorities from the surrounding countries to address the closure. Their advice to reopen the safari hunting has been ignored. Nevertheless, the fact remains that lion hunting is part of the solution, a critical part, not the problem.
Update on Argali Case: The scheduling order has been changed in the Argali case. The Fund for Animals made the request because of its intent to amend the suit again. The change adds months of delay. We objected to no avail. The new scheduling order for the case is: August 12, 2002 Plaintiffs file Amended Complaint; September 16, 2002 Defendants Produce New Administrative Record, Defendants and Intervenors Answer Amended Complaint; October 18, 2002 Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment; November 22, 2002 Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment and Opposition to Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment, Intervenors’ Motion for Summary Judgment and Opposition to Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment; December 20, 2002 Plaintiffs’ Opposition to Defendants’ and Intervenors’ motions for Summary Judgment and Reply in Support of Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment.
The only activity in the case at this time is our own Motion to Dismiss. The basis of that motion is that the antis don’t have sufficient interest in the remote nations where argali occur because they have no presence or programs to meet the US Constitutional “case or controversy” requirement for standing. Standing requires real interest and also that a judgment will serve the interest of plaintiffs. In this case, a judgment favoring the antis would harm argali, not further their feigned interest in argali management, where they have no presence or programs. Our motion is on behalf of Conservation Force, FNAWS, Grand Slam-OVIS and a list of experts and individual hunters who jointly intervened with us. We also have an ongoing appeal in a separate appellate court to overturn the trial judge’s denial of the intervention application of Mongolia to protect its own interest. That brief was filed by us, and we just received the antis’ brief in opposition. – John J. Jackson, III.
For more information on Conservation Force and/or the services available through Jackson’s alliance with The Hunting Report, write:
One Lakeway Center
Metairie, LA 70002.
Tel. 504-837-1233. Fax 504-837-1145.