A Reflection on Positive Developments
A Speech by John J. Jackson, III, Chairman of Conservation Force
FNAWS Grand Opening Ceremonies, January 23, 2003
(John J. Jackson, III Note: I was asked to give a short, positive speech at the Grand Opening Ceremony of the Foundation of North American Wild Sheep Convention (FNAWS). It turned out to be a pretext for FNAWS to present me a marble award for "Excellence in Advocacy of Our Hunting Heritage," for which I am greatly honored. The award is a milestone. I share the speech with you for its list of positive developments and to share the recognition of Conservation Force with those of you who support us.)
Dear Fellow Hunters, Members, Officers, and Guest of the Foundation For North American Wild Sheep: I represent Conservation Force. It is a non-profit foundation of professionals that has formed a worldwide coalition of sportsmen's conservation organizations including FNAWS and some of its top affiliates. We help fulfill your conservation, education, and advocacy missions. The name Conservation Force means that American sportsmen like you are the driving "force" behind the conservation of wildlife.
You are indispensable. Sportsmen provided 2.4 billion dollars of the US conservation budget. That is 3/4 of America's wildlife and fisheries management budget. Little would exist without you.
You pay for the management. You pay for the law enforcement. You pay for the research. You pay for the habitat. You pay most of everything and everyone, yet you are paid by - NO-ONE. You are the givers, not the takers. The solid stewards of America's wildlife that have, for example, in fact, put wild sheep back on and keep wild sheep on the mountains.
Conservation Force has been very busy saving hunting, our conservation system and our very way of life. We have been busy fighting listing proposals at CITES Conferences and ESA (Endangered Species Act) petitions that are intended to remove sheep, urial, and game from our "game" books. We've helped defeat the proposal to list Baja desert sheep as "endangered," to list all Urial on Appendix I of CITES, the proposal to list more Markhor as Endangered, and are right this minute fighting the anti-hunters' Argali suit on behalf of FNAWS and its affiliates. This is the most far-reaching, serious suit ever filed against hunting.
We are so embroiled in the effort to save hunting that we sometimes don't stop to recognize the positive side - the pyramid of favorable events and developments over the past 10 to 12 years, or the current promising developments. The hunting world has done a lot to help itself since the late 1980's.
(1) The pyramid of achievements includes the evolution of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus and its supporting foundation, the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation. This 300-plus member caucus is the largest in Congress and serves us well.
(2) The Governor's Heritage Conferences have evolved over little more than a decade. They have added a sophisticated comprehension and strategies to solve our problems in ways we never envisioned.
(3) We developed numerous partnerships and coalitions that greatly serve us, such as the National Shooting Sports Foundation's National Summits. Also, the American Wildlife Conservation Partners formation to ensure that hunters remain the viable leaders of American wildlife conservation for the next 100 years, as they have been for the last 100 years.
(4) The development and welcomed reception of the concept of "sustainable use." The Second World Congress of the IUCN has formally adopted the principle of sustainable use. Regional Sustainable Use Specialist Groups have been formed in every region of the world employing the very concepts that American sportsmen used to save our wildlife in America. Simply put, the concept means that the incentives arising from use, the revenue arising from use, and the interest and support of innumerable stakeholders are to be taken into consideration and made to work for species survival. It is a great adjunct to the decision-making processes that effect us all.
There are innumerable current developments building upon this pyramid of success.
Last Half of 2002
Just in the last six to eight months:
(1) Congressman Richard Pombo has been selected to chair the House Resources Committee. He shares the view of the Western Caucus and is sensitive to sportsmen's interest. He has been at the last two CITES COPs looking out for your interest when no one else cared enough. He has held hearings before and after CITES COPs to make the USF&WS accountable and to answer for what they do that can effect you.
(2) The new Director of US Fish & Wildlife Service (USF&WS) is one of us. Director Steve Williams pledged under oath in congressional hearings to re-establish the rightful place, relationship and partnership between hunters and fishermen and the USF&WS. He gives the sportsmen and women of America the credit they are due! It has been a very, very long time since we have been so openly and unabashedly embraced by the Service. What a breath of Fresh Air!
(3) Director Williams is holding the first Conservation Forum in February, 2003 at the Service's National Conservation Training Center in Shepherds-town, West Virginia, and has invited the leaders of America's sportsmen's conservation organizations as partners to share information and concerns. The forum is intended to be a "springboard to actions."
(4) The Animal Use Issue Task Force has just become a permanent committee of the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. (Animal Use Issues Committee) The International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies is made up of Directors of states' wildlife departments and leading hunting, fishing, and trapping advocates, who are working together for your interest.
(5) The Commission of Sustainable Use has been founded by the Conseil International de Chasse (CIC) headquartered in Budapest - representing the interest of hunters and hunting as the classic form of sustainable use - linking hunters in more than 80 nations.
(6) The Second World Summit on Sustainable Development has led to a review of the precautionary principle. The 'precautionary principle' has become a tool of the antis used to stop our every step. Its one-sided (incomplete) application has had serious consequences. Conservation leaders (TRAFFIC, FFI, IUCN, Resource Africa and others) have begun a series of case studies in management of natural resources. The purpose of the studies is to demonstrate the improper, over-zealous application of the principle, as well as to provide guidance on its proper application. Over-zealous application of the principle can reduce conservation incentives, revenue and participation by stakeholders that control the destiny of the species. An example relevant to sport hunting is when authorities stop the limited hunting of a game animal out of precaution simply because it is listed, or when they stop hunting because the population number of an animal is unknown even though it is obviously abundant.
(7) The Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus is finally moving into the states to establish a defensive line in the state legislative arena. Long discussed and considered, the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation is now implementing state caucuses initially in a dozen states.
(8) The Countryside Alliance in Great Britain mustered one of the largest civil rights marches in history when 407,791 countryside people marched to save hunting and the Countryside way of life in London. It seems the British government does not know that majority tyranny upon minorities is fundamentally unacceptable in a democracy, less no minority have rights.
(9) A federal court has finally recognized the Second Amendment Right of private individuals to bear arms. (Emerson). The 5th Circuit has ruled and, moreover, the US Justice Department has endorsed that decision and followed the lead. It could not have happened more timely.
Think about it - nine promising events in six months!
There is much more. American hunters continue in their role in the American conservation system. No one contributes more in America as a group or per individual. No one spends more time in connection with the great outdoors than big game hunters. They are still doing the best. No one puts more sheep on the mountain. You are the force behind it. Let no one, big or small, slight FNAWS, for the example it sets for all, nor deny FNAWS the recognition that it deserves. Thank you. I am proud to be a life member, to work with you, and for you. Lets all be proud.
• Cullman & Hurt Community Wildlife Project: The American Museum of Natural History was built in 1935. The people of New York built it to honor Theodore Roosevelt. Though "Teddy" was a city boy born and bred in the City of New York, he became one of America's greatest hunters, adventurers and wildlife conservationists. He felt that conservation means restoration ("development") "as much as it means protection." Indeed, America's wildlife has been restored thanks to the system he and his hunting friends forged.
The Museum is most definitely one of the finest natural history museums in the world. Few, if any, compare. In its very center is the Ackeley Hall of African Mammals. Down the center of the Hall is a herd of eight elephants. They are so realistically taxidermied in every detail that they look both alive and in motion. It is an inspiring sight encircled by the finest dioramas of African game I have ever seen. What a place!
On the night of February 6, 2003, Ackeley Hall was the site of the Third Cullman & Hurt Community Wildlife Project Art Auction and Dinner Party. Joseph Cullman 3rd, Robin Hurt, Griffin & Howe and Conservation Force held the event. The guests included Theodore Roosevelt IV and many other celebrities. The 32 original paintings and sculptures were by the leading artists of today, including David Sheperd, Guy Coheleach, John Banovich, Kobus Moller, Lindsay Scott, Brian Jarvi, Daniel Smith, Al Agrew, Mike Ghaui, Johann Koch, Tim Scott-Bolton, Karen Laurence, Dennis Mathews, Peter Gray, Roy Keeler, Paul Augustinus, Ed Aldrich and many others.
Joseph Cullman 3rd sits on the Board of Trustees of the Museum and personally underwrote the costs of the special event. He is living proof that hunters are the pillars of wildlife conservation. He chaired the Philip Morris family of companies for more than two decades, including its Marlboro cigarettes, Kraft foods and Miller Brewing companies. He is one of the original 1,000 founding members of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and he housed WWF's headquarters in his Philip Morris New York office when WWF began. He is the First Honorary Trustee of WWF and has been on and off of its Board throughout its years. When safari hunting in Tanzania in 1990, he founded the Cullman & Hurt Community Wildlife Project, which is the foremost community conservation model of its kind in the world. Today, he remains one of the project's largest benefactors.
The project has constructed 26 schools, six medical dispensaries, police stations, water wells, teacher housing and much more. It trains and operates two armed, uniformed anti-poaching patrols. Eight vehicles have been furnished for anti-poaching and for use as mobile medical care units. The project rewards 32 village communities for the recovery of poachers' snares. That has led to the confiscation of tens of thousands of wire snares and has spared over 100,000 animals (Example: 15,000 snares in one area alone were confiscated in 1990). It works! Most of the project is funded by clients of Robin Hurt Safaris that contribute a sum equal to ten percent of their trophies fees to the project through tax-deductible donations to Conservation Force.
The select location, people, art and the purpose all made the Art Auction an exceptional occasion. During the evening, there was a standing ovation for Joseph Cullman 3rd, who certainly deserved the honor. Chrissie and I were proud too. Proud of Carl Ackeley's taxidermy, proud of hunter-conservationists such as Roosevelt of yesterday and Joseph Cullman 3rd of today. Proud of Conservation Force and the role it has come to play.
We closed the doors at midnight. We stepped into the crisp night to face the beauty of the stark white, snow-covered trees of Central Park fronting the museum. Large snowflakes were floating down like a message from heaven, a message from Teddy whispering, "Well done! Please do carry on the tradition." Instinctively, I looked for the source in awe of the magic moment. We were beside a giant bronze statue of Teddy atop a horse with an Indian waiting at his side. I stood there with my Indian wife, Chrissie. Indeed, I pledged in thought, "We will carry on." Thank you Teddy, Carl Ackeley, Joseph Cullman 3rd and Robin Hurt. Thank you Griffin & Howe, all the artists and all those who contributed.
• Big Six: The African Professional Hunter's Association (APHA) has resolved to add Hippo to the Big Five list. From here out, it shall be the "Big Six." The inclusion was made at the association's annual membership meeting in January 2003.
The African Professional Hunter's Association is made up of the leading "dangerous game" professional hunters in the world. The association was formed a number of years back for those really proficient in hunting dangerous game who conducted themselves ethically and honorably. Yours truly has been an honorary lay member from its inception. The group provides some support for Conservation Force's attendance at CITES and for networking on other important issues.
The hippo is one of the three largest land mammals in the world. It is extremely dangerous and will not hesitate to charge. When they charge, they mean business. They are noted for their short-fused tempers. The mouth and the teeth of these 4,000-pound animals are the largest in the world and they are scissor-like sharp in front and crushing-grinding molars in the rear. They shear, shake and grind what they bite!
The conditions under which a hunter encounters them really determines how dangerous they are. Hundreds of people have fatal encounters with hippos each year in Africa. When they are not having bloody mating and territorial fights gashing each other, they most certainly will turn their murderous temperament on you. In an uncommon understatement, Peter Capstick wrote "[t]o be caught by a hippo is a singularly nasty way to receive your overdose of Africa."
• Weatherby Award: Rex Baker of Georgia won the 2002 Weatherby Hunting and Conservation Award. He has hunted on six continents and collected over 275 species from 60 countries, 221 of which are in the record books. Upon being recognized as the world's greatest hunter, Rex explained, "I love it... I can't live without it... To hunt is man's nature..." To get the award, you must love to hunt. You must love to be in the wild. All those who know Rex know that he is deserving of hunting's highest award of achievement.
Author Wilbur Smith presented the award. He said, "I am proud to tell you I am a hunter..." Hunters "have given back to nature ten fold" what they have taken. "It is the way of the hunters." When you "put a value on the game, then you can justify putting animals on land." Then quoting his own father, he said, "It doesn't matter why you do good, so long as you do good."
The nominees were Steven Chancellor, Ralph Cunningham, David Hanlin, Jimmy Rosenbruch and Mike Simpson. Like Rex, most of the nominees are contributors to Conservation Force. The Weatherby Award Winner gets a grant to direct to the wildlife conservation organization of his choice. We were particularly honored and grateful this year because Rex Baker chose Conservation Force as his choice recipient of the Weatherby Conservation Grant for the dedicated purpose of defending the Argali litigation pending in Federal Court. - 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.