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Letter to USFWS from Robin Hurt

Written By John J. Jackson III, Conservation Force Chairman & President
(posted May 2014)
 
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE
US FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE

Ref. The US Fish and Wildlife Service suspension (ban) on importation of elephant trophies hunted in 2014 by sport hunters in Tanzania and Zimbabwe into the USA.


Yes, Africa has a serious poaching problem, fuelled by recent unprecedented demand. Your suspension is in fact causing a ‘ban’ on American citizens hunting elephant in Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Even though governments of both countries see the need to allow continued licensed hunting, no hunter will go all the way to Africa on an expensive safari if they can’t take their trophy home. Safari hunters, unlike poachers, are selective - they are not killers bent on a quick financial return - on the contrary, they are prepared to pay large sums of money for the privilege of legally hunting and keeping the trophy of a selected animal.

Bans don’t work. Bans are not a solution. Rather encourage better management and anti-poaching. More importantly, find a solution to dealing with the end users who are the cause of the poaching problem in the first place.

I have witnessed firsthand the negative results of three African hunting bans. Having been first licensed in Tanzania as a Professional Hunter in 1963, I have been a full-time professional hunter ever since, not only in Tanzania, but at one time or another in most African countries that allowed hunting. I state this in the interests of sharing the changes I have seen caused by hunting bans.

Briefly, safari hunting is an important wildlife management tool in Africa. It produces important revenue from legitimate, licensed hunting take-off of surplus game animals to governments, conservancies and safari operators. It hugely contributes to the financial well-being and food supply of people who live on a day-to-day basis with wild animals, in and around wildlife areas. It helps fund and pay for anti-poaching efforts by both safari companies and governments. It mostly utilizes old animals, often beyond breeding age. American safari hunting clients contribute about 60% of the revenue earned through sport hunting in Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Your suspension will seriously erode revenue that is so badly needed in Zimbabwe and Tanzania to help fund anti-poaching. The cancellations following will cause financial loss to conservancies where the local people will not understand your reasoning for the suspension - some will simply just turn to poaching to compensate their losses.

You know all this. But what you may or may not know is the negative results of prior hunting bans. Namely:

TANZANIA IN 1973 - At that time there were an estimated 380,000 elephant and 18,000 black rhino. By the time the government reopened hunting in 1983, the elephant population had declined to about 80,000 and rhino to less than 100 animals. The Tanzanian government realized that the ban was a mistake, leaving the wilderness wide open to commercial poaching, and reopened safari hunting in 1983. The elephant population immediately started to recover, increasing up to an estimated 130,000 animals in 2009, prior to the current poaching. No doubt this number has dropped, but your suspension will only serve to exacerbate the problem.

KENYA IN 1977 - At that time there were an estimated 176,000 elephant and over 8,000 black rhino. Today there are various estimates, but probably an accurate one would be somewhere in the region of 20,000+ elephant and about 500+ rhino. Kenya remains closed to safari hunting and has the embarrassment of losing over 150,000 elephant and 7,500 black rhino! All in a period of no legal hunting. Poaching is, and continues to be, rife.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (FORMERLY ZAIRE) - Formerly the largest stronghold of the forest elephant, safari hunting was banned in 1984. It remains closed to this day. Since that closure, the northern white rhino has completely disappeared and is probably extinct. Forest elephant are now a rarity in that country. Again, all in a period of NO legal hunting. There is a message here. Taking legal hunters who are legitimate managers of wildlife out of the bush creates a vacuum of empty wilderness that is soon filled by illegal thieves of wildlife - poachers.

Yes, there is a huge poaching problem in Africa today, wherever there are elephant and rhino; not only Tanzania and Zimbabwe. But, I can assure you that if you remove the legal presence of safari hunters from the bush, which is what will happen as a side effect of your suspension, poaching will increase at an alarming rate. That could threaten the very existence of elephant in Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

All of us have the common interest of the well-being of all wildlife, not just elephant. A professional hunter is most motivated to look after and steward his or her wildlife. Their very livelihood and way of life depends on this.

A remedy to counteract poaching? The following may be worth considering:

• Instead of an outright punitive suspension, encourage proper management practices. Liaise with African governments, work with them and assist them rather than antagonize them with importation bans. Part of the problem is that often legal hunting and wildlife theft through poaching are lumped together under one ‘umbrella’ because of misinformation. Legal, licensed hunting is conservation; poaching is simply stealing.

• Target and punish the end-users and dealers who, after all, are the villains and cause of this poaching scourge. It often seems to be the legal hunters who are targeted, yet the real criminals seem to get away scot free - this needs to change!

• Help fund anti-poaching. Tanzania and Zimbabwe have limited resources. Anti-poaching is hugely expensive. The US can make a huge difference by helping to fund anti-poaching programs in the field.

• Educate and involve local human communities in the value of conserving wildlife, whether through wise sustainable use or photographic safaris. Both are equally important in giving wild animals real long-term value.

Lastly, if the US importation suspension on sport-hunted elephant is not lifted, then an undoubted increase of poaching will be the result in both Zimbabwe and Tanzania. Who will then accept the responsibility for that? The US Fish and Wildlife Service?

Yours sincerely,
Robin Hurt


Conservation Force 2014
2014
January Firestorm Email Attacks by Media and Antis
January CIC Milan 61st General Assembly/Crime Summit
January USFWS Re-Notices Proposed ESA Downlisting of Markhor
January Markhor Import Permit Appeal
January Hunter Proud Foundation & Osprey Filming Company
January Intervention in Latest Three Amigos Suit
February Antis’ Antics Have Perverse Negative Effect on Rhino Conservation
March Speech Upon Receiving the Houston Safari Club International Hunter of the Year Award
March Hunting: A Great Debate
April Illegal Wildlife Trade and Poaching
April Conservation Force Solves Liberia Trophy Import Problems
April Elephant Hair and Skin Bracelets Importable
April Conservation Force First Quarter 2014 Report
May USFWS Implements Catastrophic Suspension of Elephant Imports from Tanzania and Zimbabwe
May Letter to USFWS from Robin Hurt
June First Formal Action on Elephant Import Suspension Taken by Conservation Force
July Import Permits Issued for Sulaiman Markhor of Torghar Project
July Trophy Definition to Again Include Worked, Manufactured or Handicraft Items
July Comments Opposing Zimbabwe Elephant Trophy Import Suspension
July USFWS Produces Letter of Inquiry to Tanzania on Elephant Populations


Conservation Force 2013
2013
January US Fish and Wildlife Service Announces 90-Day Finding on ESA Listing for African Lion
February Why Hunt Wild Cats: Arguments Previously Made By USFWS and African Nations
March World Conservation Force Bulletin Enters Its 18th Year
March Mozambique and Cameroon Hippo Trade Suspended by CITES
March Final Findings of National Survey Reports A Record Number of Big Game Hunters
March 2012 Zambia Elephant Trophy Imports Approved
March On Receiving The Peter Hathaway Capstick Hunting Heritage Award
April A CITES CoP16 Report: Key Wins, Some Losses for the Hunting Community
April What Was Truly at Stake with the Polar Bear Proposal
May USFWS Grants First Black Rhino Import Permit
May Evaluating Namibia’s Rhino Program
May Rhino Populations Grow Despite Poaching
June CIC General Assembly Adopts Recommendations for African Lion and White Rhino
June Double Quotas Not Yet Resolved in USA
June Equal Allocation of New Mexico Nonresident Licenses for Rocky Mountain and Desert Bighorn Sheep, Oryx and Ibex Challenged Again
June Wood Bison Cases Still in Court
June Black Rhino Public Education
July USFWS Denies Petitions to Remove Private, Captive Populations of Species from ESA: Scimitar-horned Oryx, Dama Gazelle and Addax Denied
July Polar Bear Litigation Developments
July Finally, All Gray Wolves Proposed for Removal from ESA
July Status of the Petition to List the Lion as Endangered: African Lion Workshop
August Court Turns Deaf Ear to Polar Bear Enhancement Permit Applicants for Gulf of Boothia
August Newly Published Monograph on Hunting & Conservation
August Family Hunts Under One License are Illegal
August Wildlife for the 21st Century, Volume IV
September Downlisting of Straight-Horned Markhor Delayed; USFWS to Issue Revised Proposed Rule to Reclassify Species Under ESA
September New Trophy Seizure Issues Arise
September New Mexico Nonresident Terk Case Revving Up
September Polar Bear Listing Now Before US Supreme Court
October US Fish & Wildlife Lists White Rhino as Threatened
October Two Articles on Black Rhino Trophy Imports
October Defense of Terk Decision Needs Support
October Two Colorado State Senators Recalled for Passage of Firearms Restrictions
October Cheetah Numbers Increasing
November US Supreme Court Denies Polar Bear Writ
November Court Should Hold Feds Accountable for Questionable ESA Listing
November Succession and Development: “What will We Do When You are Gone?
November Black Rhino Auction: A Dream Come True
December Unintended Consequences May Arise from Presidential Executive Order to Combat Wildlife Trafficking
December The Crush: Whose Ivory was Destroyed and Will It Truly Curtail Poaching?
December Climate Change Used to Reopen Wolverine Listing Proposal
December Conservation Force Wins FOIA Suit for Records Revealing Why USFWS Stalled Markhor Downlisting
December Suit Threatens Three Amigos Permitting Process; Conservation Force and Allied Organizations to Intervene


Conservation Force 2012
2012
January HSUS Threatens Conservation Force’s Asian Projects and Partners
January Markhor III Suit Filed to Compel 12-Month Downlisting Finding
January Serious Irregularities in Administrative Records and Scientific Findings
January Can You Offer for Sale or Sell an “Endangered” Listed Species Without a Permit?
February Conservation Force Partners with SAVE Valley Conservancy
February New Mexico Further Restricts Nonresident Hunting
February An Open Letter to Ranchers and Hunters of ESA Listed Exotics in The US
March Trophy Seizure Threat Reaches New High; USFWS Conduct Reaches New Low
March Some Court Success in Seizure Cases
March New Study Quantifies the Importance of Lion Hunting
March Onsite Report: The Etosha Meeting of African Lion Working Group
March Conservation Force Legal Action Update
April USF&WS Proposes New CITES Regulations
April Update on Three Amigos: Dama Gazelle, Addax and Scimitar-horned Oryx
April CF Board Members Selected To Important IUCN Posts
April Help Needed For Conservation Force Intern Program
May Wood Bison II Litigation Successfully Concluded: Court Overturns USFWS Enhancement Permit Denials
May Markhor III Suit Settled
June Dr. James Teer, Founding Member of Conservation Force, Dies
June Canadian Wood Bison Downlisted! Trophies Now Importable
July National Fish & Wildlife Conservation Congress in Canada
July Hunting for an Acceptable Image: Building Public Acceptance for Sustainable Use of Wildlife
July USFWS Considering Positions for CITES CoP16
July Antis Again Challenge “Trophy” Definition
August Promising Polar Bear Developments: Scientists Stand Corrected
August Last Brief in Markhor I Suit Filed
August Power Outages – Shortfalls
September Success! USFWS Proposes the Downlisting & Importation of Torghar Markhor Without an ESA Import Permit
October The National Survey Shows Increase in Hunters and Big Game Hunting
October South Africa’s Protected Area Act of 2003 Hurts Wildlife & Habitats
October CIC President Bernard Lozé: “Banning Lion Hunting Endangers The Survival of Lions in the Wild!”
October Update on Our Freedom of Information Act Suits
November CITES CoP16 Proposals Published: White Rhino, Polar Bear, Elephant, Pyrenean Chamois, Leopard Permits
November Remarks of Deborah Lyons, Deputy Head of Mission, at the Inuit Delegation - Polar Bear Reception at Embassy of Canada, Washington, D.C., September 20, 2012
November 3 Amigos: USFWS Makes 90-Day Finding to Review Downlisting Those Species in USA
November PH Stu Taylor Recovery Fund Established
December Worked Elephant Ivory Tusks Not Importable: US Court Holds Import Violated Four Laws and Orders Forfeiture of Zimbabwe Elephant Tusk
December Waning Status of Hunting-Based Conservation in Botswana: Latest Developments
December Bill Poole Enshrined Into the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame


Conservation Force 2011
2011
January Court Rules No Fees Due in Permit Cases
January Delays & Revelations In Wood Bison Suit
February A Step-by-Step Guide On Who Is Responsible For What
February Billy Ray Parnell Purple Heart Program
March Wood Bison Initiative Enters Final Stage
March Lead Issue Taken to Court
March Both Markhor Cases Moving Forward
March Zambia Initiative Success
April Africa: Antis Petition Listing Of African Lion on ESA
April Success in Iran
April Scientists Recant Tipping Point Theory That Doomed the Polar Bear
April Plains Bison Listing Petition Denials
April The Osprey Filming Company
May Special Coverage On Polar Bear: Sustainable Use On Trial
June Special Coverage On Elephant Imports: Challenging The USFWS Definition of “Trophy”
July USFWS Makes Positive Markhor Finding
July New Eruption Atop Mountain of Seizures
July USFWS Enforces Validation Requirement On CITES Permits
July Pakistan Export Permits Don’t Have a Validation Section
August US District Court Denies All Challenges to Listing the Polar Bear as “Threatened”
August Permit Exclusions Eliminated for “The Three Amigos”
September Important Developments at 25th Meeting of the CITES Animals Committee
September Abusive Use of Polar Bear Drowning Misinformation
September Cheetah Import Permits Denied Again
October Special Coverage: Getting To The Root Of The Trophy Seizure Crisis – The History and Genesis Of The Problem
November District Court Denies Relief In Zambia
and Mozambique Elephant Import Suits
December Success! Zambia Elephant Import Permits Issued By USFWS
December Update on Seizure and Forfeiture Crisis


Conservation Force 2010
2010
January Special Report: Addressing The US Trophy Seizure Crisis
February Federal Court Rules Hunters’ Interests In Trophies Not Legally Protected
March CF Creates Permanent Litigation Division
March Special Report: Conservation Force Chairman Receives International Statesman Award
March Briefly Noted
April Conservation Force Institutes Industry-Commercial Services Sponsorships
April Briefly Noted
April Dr. Dale Toweill Joins Conservation Force Board of Advisors
May Special Report: Focus On CITES CoP15
June 57th CIC General Assembly: Expanding Scope, Participation & Influence
June Briefly Noted
July The Supreme Court Invalidates Overly Broad Cruelty Law In Light of the Acceptability of Hunting
August Status of Wood Bison Suits Against USFWS
September The Important Historical Role of Hunters To Both Public and Private Land Conservation
September Pakistan: New Markhor Down-listing Petition Filed
October CBD Pushes To Ban All Lead Ammo & Fish Gear
November Important New Development in Trophy Seizure Crisis
November Anticlimactic Polar Bear Court Hearing
December A Tool For Lion Hunters: The Pocket Guide To Aging Lions
December Polar Bear Listing Cases Status
December St. Petersburg Hosts 58th CIC General Assembly


Conservation Force 2009
2009
January 2008 In Review Bio-political Developments
February Crisis Over Trophies In Transit Resolved
February Two Important Legal Actions
March Lion Campaign Kicks Off In The Nick of Time
March Polar Bear Update: Law Suit Sets New Precedent On Listings
March Briefly Noted
April "Challenges and Solutions for the Conservation of Lions and Other Large Carnivores in Sub-Saharan Africa" February 17th-18th Maroua, Cameroon
May Trophy Seizures & Forfeiture Crisis: Problems and Resolutions
May Briefly Noted
June Cheetah & Black-faced Impala Permits Denied
June Briefly Noted
July National Action Plans Save Lion Initiative
July Briefly Noted
August Tanzania To Enforce Age Limits On Trophy Lions
August Three Antelope Case A Win For Conservation
August Briefly Noted
September The Unrealized Potential of Conservation Hunting
September North America: Latest Developments On Polar Bear
October Mozambique: Niassa Elephant Trophy
November Africa: Suit Filed Over Zambia Elephant Import Permits
November Arctic: USF&WS Proposes CITES Uplist Polar Bear
November Polar Bear Lawsuits Challenging the Listing Decision
December Special Report: African Lion Spared the CITES Axe, For Now
December Bill Poole: “A Lion of a Man”
December Special Report: CITES Proposals for CoP15, March 2010


Conservation Force 2008
2008
January CITES: Trophy Importation Crisis Averted For Now
January Polar Bear Developments
February Conservation News Developments
March Breaking News On Argali Draws
April Polar Bear Decision: Some Thoughts About That Continuing Delay
April CAMEROON: All About The New CAMNARES Program
May Conversation Force to Intervene
May Briefly Noted
June Polar Bear Listing: Assessing The Impact And Mapping A Way Forward
June CITES: Trophy Importation Crisis Averted For Now
August Update On Kashmir Markhor
August Polar Bear Imports: Immediate Ban Upheld
August A Word About The Bob Kern Trial
September Study Analyzes Work Of NGO’s In African Wildlife Conservation
September Tanzania: Elephant Permit Crisis Averted
September Briefly Noted
October New Efforts To Reverse The Polar Bear Listing
October USF&WS Seizing Some Utilitarian Trophy Items
November Nation-by-Nation Plans To Save African Lion
November Hunting For Truth: Why Rationalizing The Ritual Must Fail
November Briefly Noted
November USF&WS Trophy Regs Still Wreaking Havoc
November Leadership, People and Science
December USF&WS Trophy Regs Still Wreaking Havoc
December Briefly Noted


Conservation Force 2007
2007
January Largest Hunting Development in the World
January Philippe Chardonnet Elected to Conservation Force Board
January PHASA AGM: An On-Site Report
February Polar Bear and Trophy Imports Both In Jeopardy
March A Second Threat to Polar Bear Import
March Guide To Aging Lions Is Now Available
March Briefly Noted
April Understanding The Issues And Proposals
April Our Polar Bear Comment: A Report
June Namibia: Help Is Available On Seized Leopards
June Belgrade: All About The Latest CIC General Assembly
June Special Report: New Conservation DVD Is Getting Attention
June CITES Meeting: The Latest Developments
June What Do You Say To A Liberal Intellectual Who Has Never Hunted?
July What Really Happened at CITES COP14 In The Hague
August Markhor Import Denial Raises Big Questions
September White House Orders National Hunting Conference
October Reflections On 10 Years Of Conservation Force
October Bear Listing Proposal: USGS Releases Reports
November Petitions to Free Siezed Trophies Successful
November Polar Bear Crisis Heats Up
November Briefly Noted
December Important Development in Markhor Conservation
December A Commentary On The National Geographic Article About “Hunters: For Love of the Land”


Conservation Force 2006
2006
January Highlights of 2005
February Protectionist File Suit To List All Polar Bear Under the Endangered Species Act
March ESA Listing Pending Polar Bear Crisis Is Growing
April The Real Significance If Polar Bear Are Listed
May One Important Nonresident Rights Case Continues
June Comment On “Draft Norms & Standards for the Regulations of the Hunting Industry in South Africa
July Symposium May Affect The Future Of Hunting; Progress Reported On Black Faced Impala
August Assessing The Impact Of Interior Dept. Turnover
September Mozambique Elephant Trophy Import Permit Applications Denied
October BC Bear Report And “Stricter Domestic Measures:” An Analysis Of The Connections
November UK Meetings Focus On Hunting/Conservation
December Wildlife ‘Compact’ Has Downsides / Gala Tanzania Banquet / Last Nonresident Suit


Conservation Force 2005
2005
January The End of Nonresident Hunting Rights
February African Elephant Downlisted to Vulnerable
March Southwest Alaska Profile In Conservation
April The Truth About That Polar Bear Petition
May The Legally Structured Role of Hunting and Fishing in the US and Abroad
June Nonresidents Stripped of Constitutional Rights in Congress
July Black Rhino Hunting Development
August Elephant Hunting Is Fully Open In Zambia / Getting A Handle On “Sustainable Use”
September Russia: The “Real Skinny On That Hunting Closure
October Hurricane Katrina Threatens Conservation Force
October USFW&S Denies Permits For Black-Faced Impala
November First African Lion Workshops Are Successful; IUCN Polar Bear Listing Upgraded
December US Lists New Foreign Species As Endangered


Conservation Force 2004
2004
January Permits To Import Certain Endangered Species Understanding That Draft Trophy Import Policy Change
February Musings of an Old Hunter
March Giant Saltwater Crocodile Hunting May Open
April Who Said What: A Compendium Of Comments
May African Lion Targeted At CITES Meeting
June The Truth About Senator John Kerry
June Two Hunters’ Legacies
July Argali Suit Finally Finished: Positive Gains
July Case Study of a Man-Eating Lion Killing 35 People
September Cats/Canids Bill Introduced; NRA To Push Hunting; Important CITES COP 13 Developments
October Will Lion Hunting Survive? And More....
November What Really Happened At COP13
December More To Come On African Lion


Conservation Force 2003
2003
January On The Legal Front Gun Rights… Nonresident Permits… Trophy Imports
February Conservation of the African Lion: Contribution to a Status Survey
March A Reflection on Positive Developments
April DATELINE: WASHINGTON, DC, News Analysis, The Argali Case: Court, Hears Mongolia's Appeal
May Conservation News Briefs - A Special Tribute To Gunbearers
June What You Need To Know About Trophy Imports
July Insights From Wildlife Conflict Studies, A Different Perspective For Problem Solving
August How Many Hunters Are There, Really?
September The Antis’ Argali Suit Has Been Dismissed
October Update On The Argali Case
November The Political Future
December Antis Tell Court They Would Rather See Elephants Euthanized Than in a Zoo


Conservation Force 2002
2002
January The Truth About That British Columbia Grizzly Bear “Ban”
February DATELINE: WASHINGTON, DC - Cameroon Elephant Permits Denied
March SPECIAL REPORT - New USF & WS Director
April The Saga of the Saiga
May The Role And Value Of Hunting
June On The Legal Front Gun Rights… Nonresident Permits… Trophy Imports
July Special Report: The Argali Suit - Part I
August Special Report: A Preview Of COP 12
September Zimbabwe Hunting Will Continue – But Zimbabwe Needs You Now
October Understanding Trophy Hunting: A Powerful Conservation Tool
November London March to Save Hunting Breaks All Records
December Santiago, Chile - What Really Happened At CITES COP 12


Conservation Force 2001
2001
March Idaho Approves Nonresident Moose Hunting: A Practical Lesson In Our Democracy
April Special Report On Hunting Why We Do It; Its Conservation Benefits
May Antis Sue To Stop All Argali Trophy Imports
June The Very Latest On That Argali Suit
July Why We Hunt: - Two Important Perspectives
August The Animal Rights 2001 Conference - Terrorism And A Radical Agenda At A Hilton Hotel
September Legal Matters - Update On The Argali Lawsuit
October DATELINE: WASHINGTON Mongolia, Others Denied Role In Argali Lawsuit
November DATELINE: WASHINGTON, DC - European Trophy Crisis Is Narrowly Averted
December People And Predators. Can They Live Together?




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Musk Ox Hunting (54)
Nilgai Hunting (16)
Nyala Hunting (303)
   Mountain Nyala
Oribi Hunting (106)
Ox Hunting (60)
Peccary Hunting (29)
Prarie Dog Hunting (5)
Puku Hunting (95)
Reedbuck Hunting (355)
   Mountain Reedbuck
Reindeer Hunting (6)
Rhebok Hunting (72)
Rhinoceros Hunting (84)
Roan Hunting (187)
Sable Hunting (369)
Sheep Hunting (669)
   Aoudad Sheep
   Barbary Sheep
   Bighorn Sheep
   Blue Sheep
   California Big Horn Sheep
   Corsican Sheep
   Dall Sheep
   Desert Bighorn Sheep
   Feral Sheep
   Four-Horned Sheep
   Kerman Sheep
   Mouflon Sheep
   Red Sheep
   Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep
   Soay Sheep
   Stone Sheep
Sitatunga Hunting (112)
Springbok Hunting (406)
Steenbok Hunting (220)
Suni Hunting (39)
Tahr Hunting (149)
   Himalayan Tahr
Takin Hunting (1)
Tiang Hunting (11)
Topi Hunting (38)
Tsessebe Hunting (94)
Tur Hunting (7)
Urial Hunting (18)
Varmint Hunting (71)
Warthog Hunting (696)
Waterbuck Hunting (471)
Wildebeest Hunting (665)
   Black Wildebeest
   Blue Wildebeest
Wolf Hunting (231)
Wolverine Hunting (45)
Yak Hunting (3)
Zebra Hunting (725)
   Burchell's Zebra