This afternoon at its annual meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa, CEO Phil DeLone and I addressed the 10-member Executive Committee of the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa (PHASA),
There, we renewed our support of PHASA in its commitment to protect hunting and maintain the professional image of huntng in South Africa, and ensured open lines of communication so the important efforts of PHASA are heard by all SCI Members. PHASA President Hans “Scruffy” Vermaak thanked SCI for its support calling it, “vital to the PR drive that is underway.”
As the leaders of professional hunting in South Africa, PHASA sees what is happening to hunting in Botswana and Zambia and hopes its effort to protect hunting in South Africa also impacts its neighbors to the north.
We expressed how well Convention is shaping up for 2014. At its current pace, 2014 is rivaling 2012, which was our biggest Convention ever and also SCI’s 40th anniversary–2014 could prove to be a new record and we look forward to welcoming and seeing many PHASA members exhibiting in Las Vegas.
Lions and lion hunting remain on the front burner as a major concern of SCI and our efforts will have an effect on lion hunting in South Africa. Last December the anti-hunters filed a petition to uplist the African lion to “endangered” through the Endangered Species Act.
The African lion is not endangered, and SCI has already raised more than $1.2 Million dollars to prime a war chest for the coming battles over lions. We reported to PHASA that some of that money had already been spent for on-the-ground studies of lions and, as this battle could be one that is fought publicly, we have also conducted focus groups on what the public thinks of lion hunting and how to fight this battle so that facts prevail over emotion.
We still have several days of important meetings ahead of us, plus more in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia, and I look forward to bringing you regular reports as the information and Internet connections are available.– Craig Kauffman