Category Archives: Foundation

SCIF promotes science–based conservation through wildlife research, capacity building in governments, youth and teacher education, and humanitarian programs that show the importance of the hunting community in society.

Alaskan Brown Bears: Sitkalidak Island

By Corey Jager

Sitkalidak Island is the third largest island in the Kodiak Archipelago of Alaska. These Alaskan islands are celebrated for their abundance of unscathed wild landscapes and provide fantastic hunting and fishing opportunities. Wild salmon streams are among the plentiful natural resources on the island, drawing particular interest from Kodiak brown bears. Although this brown bear subspecies has been genetically isolated on the Kodiak Islands for around 12,000 years, they persist as a robust population and are prized as trophies by hunters. The Kodiak brown bear population throughout the islands has been on the rise due to the security provided by the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, and sustainable harvest managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Although population data have been collected extensively for bears throughout most of the islands, minimal data are available for Sitkalidak Island and the eastern side of Kodiak Island. Research is underway to correct this deficiency through a partnership between the Kodiak Brown Bear Trust, Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge. SCI Foundation has joined this partnership by granting $50,000 to support this study, which is aimed at providing a better understanding of bear population size, density, movement and resource use patterns. This research will enhance the current management strategies for Kodiak brown bears and potentially increase the hunting opportunities throughout the Kodiak Archipelago.

Sophisticated research techniques will allow scientists to safely immobilize twelve adult female bears and place GPS tracking collars on them. Blood and tooth samples will be collected to understand the individual health and age of each captured bear. The GPS collars can be used for long-term monitoring of the individual bears and allow researchers to understand where bears move throughout the islands and how they utilize food and habitat available to them. Bears share many food resources with humans, and humans harvesting resources in bear habitat may lead to bear-human conflicts. This study will provide valuable data for mitigating unwanted, and potentially dangerous, bear encounters with local citizens and travelers. Minimizing incidental confrontations with the guidance of updated population data will ultimately benefit both humans and bears on the islands.

SCI Foundation is proud to be involved with another project that embodies the commitment to science-based management of bears. The $50,000 provided by SCI Foundation is necessary for managers to understand the population of bears they are working with. Proper stewardship of brown bears requires information in a timely fashion. Working with partners, funds available for conservation activities go farther than if any of the cooperating entities worked alone. This allows a larger conservation footprint for SCI Foundation and fosters better work to be conducted for many species where federal and state money for research and management have waned.

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SCIF Funds Conservation Projects

Safari Club International Foundation has contributed $537,590 in the past six months to fund worldwide wildlife conservation projects.

“The research programs selected by SCIF’s professional biologists inform wildlife managers and policy makers on critical wildlife management needs worldwide,” said SCIF President Joe Hosmer. “SCIF strives to ensure management decisions are based on the best available science.”

SCIF donated $350,000 to fund multiple predator/prey projects in the U.S. and Canada. Conservation projects include Predator/Prey studies observing rates of whitetail deer fawn survival in Michigan and Wisconsin, elk survival in Montana, and caribou survival in Newfoundland. The results of these projects will help properly manage both predators and prey in systems where both exist. Donations were also made to wildlife population research and enhancement programs including mule deer in the Eastern Mojave Desert, brown bears on Kodiak Island, black bears in Missouri, and moose in Alaska, among others.

The most recent project is a partnership with Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Kenai Moose Project. SCIF donated $20,000. In multiple African nations, SCIF has given more than $123,000 to wildlife conservation and human-wildlife conflict programs.

Most recently, SCIF donated $30,000 for the upcoming African Wildlife Consultative Forum, which will be held in Botswana. SCIF also continues to fund lion research in Zambia to improve the accuracy of aging lions in their natural environment.

Being able to accurately age lions in the field will assist range states develop appropriate lion harvest regulations to ensure sustainability.

“Throughout the year, SCIF contributes over $1 million to wildlife research, management and anti-poaching programs. As an international organization, SCIF continues to increase our financial impact for sustainable-use conservation and we hope more organizations can follow our lead,” said Hosmer.

Contributions to wildlife species made during the past 6 months include:

  • Lion (Southern Africa) $30,000
  • Elephant (Zimbabwe) $25,200
  • Leopard (Zimbabwe, Namibia) $18,000
  • Wildlife Genetics (Africa) $20,000
  • Brown Bear (Alaska) $50,000
  • Black Bear (Missouri) $25,000
  • Elk (Montana. & Ontario)$69,800
  • Whitetail deer (Mich. & Wisc$75,000
  • Mule Deer (Calif. & Colorado) $40,880
  • Moose (Alaska) $33,500
  • Caribou (Newfoundland) $8,550
  • Bighorn Sheep (Mont. & Wyo) $31,500
  • Dall Sheep (Alaska) $5,000
  • Predator ID Manual (Intl) $10,000
  • Conservation Matching Grants $8,000
  • African Wildlife Forum $30,000

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SCIF Donates to Whitetail Research

Wisconsin’s whitetail deer research got a financial boost today when the Safari Club International Foundation donated $25,000 to the Department of Natural Resources’ Bureau of Science Services at the Wednesday meeting of the Natural Resources Board.

DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp accepted the donation from the foundation’s Jim Hammill, who in turn was presented with a certificate of appreciation from the agency.

Stepp called the donation an appreciated vote of confidence in the agency’s science-based conservation efforts by a respected worldwide organization.

Foundation president Joseph Hosmer said in a that statement Safari Club International was “proud to partner” with the DNR for the purposes of effective game management. “State agencies provide the most critical science to improve game management in the United States,” Hosmer said. “By working collaboratively with state agencies we will be building a long term partnership to keep sustainable wildlife populations for future generations of sportsmen and women.”

Bureau Director Jack Sullivan said the donation will be used for equipment and staff costs related to research into Wisconsin’s state wildlife animal. And, in exchange for the financial donation, the agency will provide to the foundation photographs and video showing how the donation was used for whitetail deer research.

Founded in 2000, the foundation is the charitable organization of the larger Safari Club International. It has provided $47 million to conservation, wildlife education and humanitarian programs worldwide in the past 12 years. The Safari Club International began in 1972 with a mission to protect hunters’ rights while promoting wildlife conservation. The group has about 190 chapters with about 55,000 members globally.

The DNR Bureau of Science Services in 2010 launched a multi-year research project to gather data regarding a variety of factors surrounding the white-tailed deer–including the effects of a changing predator population as well as the hunting patterns in addition to the fluctuations in hunter ranks.

Dr. Karl Martin, chief of wildlife and forestry research, said the Safari donation will be used to assess the causes and rates of fawn and adult buck mortality in the state’s whitetail deer herd. “The goal of these projects is to provide information that will help maintain Wisconsin’s healthy deer herd and continue to produce abundant recreational and trophy hunting opportunities for current and future generations of Wisconsinites.”

Martin said hunters statewide have long been interested in the DNR’s methods of estimating deer herd numbers and assessing the role of the changing predator populations. “Wisconsin’s deer research program dates back to the 1940’s and with the help of Safari Club International this long tradition is continuing to provide information for science-based management of our deer herd. The help of Safari Club International, citizen volunteers, and the sporting community, have been key components to the success of these large-scale field research projects.”

Safari Club International Testifies Before House Committee

Al Maki testifying before House Committee.
Testifying before Congress are (l. to r.) Director Dan Ashe (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), Dr. Al Maki (Safari Club International), Dr. Stuart Pimm (Duke University), Nick Wiley (Director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission).

On Tuesday, June 19, 2012, Safari Club International Foundation (SCI Foundation) Chairman of Conservation and SCI Vice President, Dr. Al Maki, testified before the Space, Science, and Technology Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight. The hearing covered “The Science of How Hunting Assists Species Conservation and Management,” and sought to highlight the role sportsmen and women play in wildlife conservation, both domestically and internationally. Dr. Maki highlighted how the Endangered Species Act (ESA) works against hunters and their conservation efforts, and spoke on the issue from the standpoint of a professional biologist, avid hunter, and conservationist.

“Government regulations, whether they are a part of the Endangered Species Act or supported by anti-hunting bureaucrats, should not impede conservation funding,” said Dr. Maki. “Hunters have provided too many resources in the form of excise taxes, license sales, and volunteering with organizations like SCI just to be casually overlooked by policy makers.”

Hunters and anglers have voluntarily contributed more than $10 billion dollars to conservation efforts through excise taxes alone since the 1937 inception of the Pittman-Robertson Act. They have been, and remain, the largest advocates of wildlife conservation, however, their efforts have been largely impeded due to the framework of the ESA. The Fish and Wildlife Service and environmental groups have used the ESA to prevent the use of hunting as a conservation measure. Dr. Maki presented several examples of the ESA’s inefficiency, including how the Act harms species enhancement within the United States and beyond.

“We greatly appreciate Congressman Broun and the entire subcommittee’s dedication to address government actions that continually undermine hunter engagement in the conservation of our nation’s wildlife,” concluded Maki.