Officially, hunting was never actually "closed" in Peru, but stringent regulations have made it virtually impossible for even resident Peruvians to obtain hunting licenses. Unfortunately, that stopped neither locals nor foreigners from hunting illegally, and a number of fly-by-night "outfitters" have hosted hunters from all over the world, killing everything from jaguars to rare birds. This activity only reinforced the anti-hunting bias among wildlife officials in Lima. Enter Thomas Saldias, a young, US-educated Peruvian who five years ago created the Peruvian Hunters Association to promote legal hunting in Peru. The only pro-hunting NGO in the country at the time, the Peruvian Hunters Association began lobbying government officials, trying to educate them on the many benefits of hunting. Saldias also brought the International Hunters Education Association to Lima to implement a hunter education program as a tool to open doors. And he managed to have South Carolina Representative Mike Pitts, former Co-Chair of the South Carolina Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus, meet with Peru's director of tourism, ministers of agriculture and commerce and other officials.
With the help of such hunting ambassadors, Saldias finally broke through the resistance to legalized hunting by showing Peruvian officials the success stories of two Latin American countries - Mexico and Argentina,........(continued)