Safari Club International Defends Hunting, Supports True Wildlife Conservation

Immature kudu bull on alert.

Safari Club International is serious about hunting and true wildlife conservation. Some people may question the propriety of hunting, but no one can refute the tremendous dedication and accomplishments of hunters when it comes to true conservation of wildlife around the world.

It cannot be denied that hunters kill individual animals – but true conservation is not about saving individual animals – it is about saving entire species. In several key ways, hunters are better at conserving species than anyone else.

First, hunters make significant financial contributions to wildlife conservation. Those who criticize the “pay for play” system are misguided. Conservation takes money and hunters are always first in line to provide those funds. The money that hunters pay to participate in hunts, particularly in Africa, goes in part to habitat restoration and wildlife management. While it may be true that not every dollar contributed by hunters finds a direct path to the wildlife, nevertheless the funds that are contributed to conservation are a significant source of the financing available in those countries for that purpose.

Each day at the Otjivero Primary School in Windhook, Namibia, two pots of food are prepared for the children—one pot contains mealie meal, while the other contains meat from animals trophy hunted on a nearby farm.
Each day at the Otjivero Primary School near Windhook, Namibia, two pots of food are prepared for the children—one pot contains mealie meal, while the other contains meat from animals trophy hunted on a nearby farm.

Second, hunters contribute to the economies of the local communities that co-exist with the wildlife. Not only does hunting provide jobs for those who would otherwise need to kill the wildlife to put food on their families’ tables, but hunting also provides that food. In most circumstances, the meat from the animals that hunters take in Africa is donated to the local villages. Hunter generated revenue also provides community improvements. In Zimbabwe for example, through the CAMPFIRE program, revenue from hunting goes to community development, providing wells, schools and other projects. The revenue generated by hunting improved local tolerance for the species that destroy crops and attack local residents.

white-rhino-closeupThird, hunters combat poaching. SCI and its members abhor the illegal killing of animals and support penalties for those who engage in the wholesale slaughter of wildlife through poisoning, snaring or otherwise illegally harvest animals in order to traffic in their horns, tusks or other parts. SCI and its members also support the apprehension and punishment of individuals who intentionally violate hunting laws and regulations for the personal gain. Hunters, including SCI members, don’t simply “talk” about ending poaching – they do something about it. Many of the major anti-poaching programs operating in African countries are run by hunting companies and are financed by the revenues from hunting.

elephants-at-waterholeFourth, hunting gives wildlife value – to the people who actually have to live with that wildlife. In Africa, an elephant that tramples the crops that villagers depend upon to feed their families and the lion that attacks and kills the family’s cow are not revered in the same way they are in many other parts of the world. These animals represent threats to the family’s survival and families often believe that these animals must be destroyed; it is literally a them or us fight. However, when a foreign hunter is willing to pay to hunt that elephant or lion, and brings with that hunt jobs for locals, meat for families, and wells and improvements for the communities – then the elephant and the lion become less of a nuisance and more of a source of community revenue. Only then do they become worth conserving for local residents.

As a result, hunting translates to true conservation. In geometric proportions, hunters are responsible for far, far more animals being alive on Planet Earth than hunters have ever taken from nature.

lion-in-grassRecent news focus on a single lion in Zimbabwe has cast a sinister shadow on hunting and has rekindled public debate about wildlife, hunting, poaching and conservation. Those who know little about hunting are driving criticisms of hunting and mistakenly believe that conservation is about trying to save individual animals. They are so focused on a single lion that they have lost sight of the importance of conservation of the species. When the controversy dies down and some new media frenzy takes its place, where will the critics of hunting be? Few if any will be in the wild, saving the wildlife and the habitats and engaging with the communities in Africa. In contrast, when hunting critics no longer invoke Cecil’s name, SCI will still be in Africa, on the ground, making a positive difference for wildlife.

It takes massive efforts by all concerned human beings to conserve wildlife, fight poaching and protect habitat. SCI and the Hunt-Now-super-safari-glassing-plainsinternational hunting community have led the way, and will continue to lead when it comes to on-the-ground programs that make a real difference to species conservation. We welcome the partnership of others who are serious about hunting and wish to engage in true wildlife conservation. Let’s stop making “hunting” the villain and start focusing our efforts on strategies that actually make a difference in ensuring that our wildlife is here for everyone to enjoy. SCI is ready – in fact we never stopped. Are you?

11 thoughts on “Safari Club International Defends Hunting, Supports True Wildlife Conservation”

  1. its fine sending this out to SCI members who in theory should know all this, but are you out there in the public domain putting this information out there and firefighting the antis, and trying to get this info over to the people who dont know/understand but are being swayed by the mass media/social media frenzy that is going on at the moment?

    1. Thanks for your comment, m.taylor. This blog is open to the public and receives about a million views a year and growing. This was also the lead article on today’s Outdoor Wire, which reaches about a quarter million readers, it’s a post on SCI’s Facebook page where it has reached more than 35,000 people, and was an item on yesterday’s Crosshairs newsletter that went to another 37,000 people. You can help us reach a larger and more diverse audience by sharing this and future items on any social media outlets you use.

  2. SCI i dont use those things ie facebook etc. its fine saying it reaches these people but what about actively going out there and taking the word to the people, and not just letting it be passively read by x amount who might already be understanding what is being put to them. what about the millions of undecided people (1.2 million on that online org asking for the unfortunate dentist to be extradited to zim) out there that are quite rapidly being radicalized by the very vociferous extremely radical antis who are a lot more active in pushing their agenda than it seems any of the hunting, firearm etc organisations are……….i have been a SCI member since 1990 and the antis etc have been there, but never in the way i have seen in the last few months. the social media explosion has helped these people to push their agenda and use info, photos etc they have picked up/stolen from the web/facebook etc, etc to use and manipulate for their own benefit. you and the other organisations need to jack up your efforts and get out there and meet these accusations and misinformation being spewed out by these people head on or i really worry about the future. regards mike

  3. As a member of SCI for several years, I respectfully ask why it’s taken this august organization over two weeks to respond to this whole fiasco? The organization needs to get it’s head out of the sand and have a PROACTIVE Ongoing Plan that addresses this. We need to be proactive, not reactive. Anti hunting sentiment has been building, this is not a surprise to anyone who can read.

  4. I agree with Messers Cassiday and Taylor about sending data to already knowing conservation people. SCI needs to reach out to the Antis and unknowing via other public media. Buying space in local newspapers, presentations in schools by local chapters, local civic club presentations (Rotary Intl.) etc. It will take more money, so up the dues.

  5. I am no longer a member as I have retired and do not hunt big game like I used to. That being said, if you guys will get a lot more proactive, I will rejoin and I will donate to any proactive program that does not just speak to the converted.

  6. I agree with much that has been voiced in the above comments and with SCis article. Having said that, it is up to ALL of us hunters to do what we can to get this message that SCI has so accurately stated here out to the Anti’s and non hunters alike. Jim Shockey does a very good job of using his name/fame on just about every show he produces for the Outdoor channel. Much more can be done with one on one as well as group events to educate the public. I personally do this whenever the situation arises like the Cecil issue in Zimbabwe. My own experience has shown that there are some ANTI’s that will never listen to reason/proven facts and probably never will. But there are others that will when shown the truth. It’s the same with gun control advocates who want ALL guns removed from public ownership. They fail to listen to the facts and statistics that show where there is less gun control and more responsible gun owners, there is LESS incidents of gun crimes. Criminals know that their perspective victims are/may be armed. They would rather go after the easy unarmed targets instead of chancing getting wonded or killed by their targeted victims. Many of our politicians use the gun issue/anti hunting for their own agenda’s. They try to scare people into supporting gun bans that are ultimately designed to disarm the law abiding citizens/to stop hunting altogether. These politicians are pandering to their constituents fears and ignorance for the purpose of staying in office.

    So, for instance, Mr. Cohen above, even though you are retired and “don’t hunt big game like I used to” you may want to look to do your part to educate those you come in contact with. Quitting SCI is not going to be very productive in this fight against an uninformed public or to the benefit of wildlife in general.

    If each and every one of us take the opportunity to educate people then that will go a long way to benefit wildlife conservation and the sport of hunting.

  7. As the treasurer of one of the Canadian chapters I agree with the comments of all four above. Furthermore, if and when you do attempt to communicate with the antis, I would expect your campaign to reach Canadians as well.

  8. Duncan, Thank you for your earlier comment. We plan to address each of your points as soon as we are able and publish your comment and our reply at the same time.

  9. Hum, very few responses……seems like the message is not even reaching the “informed!” We (SCI) must get off our proverbial duff’s and get in front of these type of media driven issues. YES, preaching to the choir is a pure waste. (great article by the way!) PLEASE start the motor and start defending our legal rights to hunt globally.

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