The International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation held its 60th General Assembly in Budapest during the last week of April. The theme of this year’s Assembly was “World Forum for Sustainable Hunting: Conserving Wildlife – Key to Global Cultural Heritage.”
Four members of Conservation Force’s Board were present: Philippe Chardonnet, Shane Mahoney, Gerhard Damm and myself along with Chrissie Jackson, Secretary. As usual, CIC had a reach encircling the hunting world and renowned speakers including Dr. Jon Hutton, Director of UNEP’s Wildlife Conservation Monitoring Centre; Rosie Cooney, Head of the IUCN’s Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group; Reinhold Messner, famous mountaineer and explorer; Dr. Andreas Demeter, Advisor to the European Commission Department of Environment; H.E. Uahckuo Herunga, Honorable Minister of MET of Namibia; Dr. Zsolt Semejen, Deputy Prime Minister of Hungary; H. E. Dr. Lajos Bognar, Deputy State Secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development of Hungary; H. E. Stefan Adam, State Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture of Slovakia; Ing. Dr. Marin Zizka, Director General of the Forestry Section of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Czech Republic; Mr. John Kenena Kasaona, Director, Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation; Dr. Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity; Mr. Eduardo Mansur, Director, Forest Assessment, Management and Conservation Division of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO); Dr. Adrian Lombard, President, International Association for Falconry and the Conservation of Birds of Prey; Prof. Niels Elers Koch, President, International Union of Forest Research Organizations; and so many more.
One very relevant Recommendation was adopted by the General Assembly on the African Lion. It follows:
RECALLING its Recommendation no CICGAS6.REC03 of 2009 in favour of the long-term conservation of the African Lion by applying best practices in hunting lions
RECOGNIZING the importance of sustainable lion hunting for the conservation of the species
OBSERVING that such hunting assigns an economic value to lions, which helps to reduce poaching and destruction of so-called problem animals
UNDERLINING that hunting tourism assists Governments financially to protect vast areas of lion habitat and to resist the encroachment pressure by alternative land uses which may destroy biodiversity and wild ecosystems
REFERRING to a recent decision by the Dallas Safari Club, a CIC member organization, that the ideal huntable male lion is one which is at least six years of age and is not known to head a pride or be part of a coalition heading a pride with dependent cubs
TAKING NOTE of scientific research, which shows that the hunting of male lions of at least five years of age and above has no negative effects on population dynamics
The 60th CIC General Assembly in Budapest, Hungary,
1. ENCOURAGES Government authorities, hunting operators and visiting hunters, as well as all international and national hunting organizations to follow age-based rules for hunting lions.
2. RECOMMENDS the Government authorities to enact, in cooperation with the hunting operators, respective country specific regulations encouraging the hunting of mature male lions and discouraging the hunting of immature male lions, and to apply them together with transparent monitoring and control procedures.
3. FURTHER RECOMMENDS that a database with details of hunter-harvested lions is set up in cooperation with neutral institutions such as IUCN SSC.
4.ACKNOWLEDGES and COMMENDS the Tanzanian and Mozambican authorities for introducing such systems and encourages them to further improve the efficiency of these systems and extend them.
What readers may not realize is that most scientists have opposed the ESA endangered listing of the African lion, but with an important caveat. They have insisted upon the adoption of the aged-lion approach by the hunting community, i.e. the six-year approach.
Remember A Hunter’s Guide to Aging Lions in Eastern and Southern Africa, available from The Hunting Report or Safari Press, is available for only $16.95 (52 pages with profuse color photos.) Do your part. Don’t shoot juvenile lion.
A second Recommendation concerned the new posture towards white rhino trade:
TAKING NOTE that the black rhino has been on CITES Appendix I since 1977 and that consequently all trade - with few exceptions - has been illegal
AWARE that despite this, black rhino populations in Africa have dropped during that time from approximately 65,000 in 1970 to 5,000 now due to illegal hunting and loss of habitat
REITERATING that white rhino populations during that time have increased to 20,000 mainly because of the involvement of the private sector and economic incentives, including trophy hunting
REGRETTING that all existing African rhino populations are today under extreme poaching pressure
NOTICING that the main destination for illegal rhino horn is the traditional oriental medicine market in Asia and that the demand for horn is unlikely to disappear
EXPRESSING CONCERNS that in the face of surging costs of rhino protection, private rhino owners in South Africa can no longer afford to continue hitherto successful rhino conservation work and are increasingly disinvesting and disposing of their animals
UNDERLINING that large stocks of rhino horn exist in South Africa, which are continuously replenished through natural mortality, dehorning and confiscations
NOTING that the demand for rhino horn products in the traditional oriental medicine market of Asia could potentially be satisfied by a legal, controlled trade
DRAWING ATTENTION to the fact that strict protection has failed in the case of the black rhino, whereas market related, sustainable use of white rhino has demonstrably contributed to the upsurge of white rhino numbers in the past decades
Therefore the CIC General Assembly in Budapest, Hungary on 30th of April 2013
1. PROPOSES to replace the ineffective rhino horn trade ban with an effective legal rhino horn trade system under the auspices of CITES.
2. CALLS ON the Parties of CITES, Governments of rhino range countries, owners of stockpiled rhino horn and private rhino owners in Africa, as well as the Governments of Asian countries where rhino horn products are consumed and relevant national organisations for the integrity of traditional oriental medicines to cooperate in creating the management framework for legal rhino horn trade.
The 61st General Assembly is to be held in Milan, Italy on 23 through 26 April, 2014. Hope to see you there.