Last week, Safari Club International Foundation held its 12th annual African Wildlife Consultative Forum (AWCF) in Livingstone, Zambia. Conservation leaders attending included wildlife management authorities from the nine African counties of Botswana, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, as well as representatives from the safari industry, NGO and wildlife science sectors.
The government representatives attending the AWCF delivered this week a letter to the Co-Chairs of the Presidential Task Force on Wildlife Trafficking, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Attorney General Eric Holder. The letter presents their recommendations for the implementation of President Barack Obama's Executive Order Combatting Wildlife Trafficking. The letter recommends that the Task Force appoint Safari Club International Foundation to its Advisory Council to act as a liaison for the African governments who are the principle agents for conserving wildlife on their continent.
"It is distressing that Africa's governments were not included or even consulted on the U.S. government's new Task Force to stop poaching. This policy decision of the U.S. government directly affects Africa's communities, wildlife, and economies. To ignore these countries is an obvious misstep that needs to be rectified," SCI Foundation President Joe Hosmer said.
During the forum, presentations on the global importance of hunting and tourism were made to the AWCF attendees. This spurred great interest on the part of both the African governments and the African professional hunters associations to embark on a socio-economic review of consumptive and non-consumptive tourism in Africa. SCI Foundation will assist in funding and managing this economic review.
The Operators and Professional Hunters Associations of Southern Africa have also sent a letter to the Task Force explaining their integral role in Africa's wildlife management, and requesting official participation in implementation of the Executive Order. More....