In the last decade, Safari Club International has spent $140 million on protecting the freedom to hunt through advocacy, research and education to ensure that the hunting heritage is accessible for future generations. These programs benefit hunters throughout North American, and the majority of the work is funded with proceeds from its Annual Hunter’s Convention, January 20-23 in Reno, Nevada.
Through direct involvement and partnerships with other conservation organizations, SCI contributes to dozens of projects in the United States and Canada every year. Earlier this year, Safari Club International Foundation (SCIF) and Mossy Oak joined forces to help ensure healthy white-tail deer populations throughout North America. They have provided funding for white-tailed deer research at the University of Georgia and the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study.
The project will investigate reasons for expansion of epizootic hemorrhagic disease viruses (EHDV) and bluetongue viruses (BTV), better define the impacts of these viruses on deer populations, and then develop recommendations to control and curtail spread of the diseases if possible. The research findings will be shared with the hunting public and wildlife professionals to better maintain healthy white-tailed deer populations throughout North America.
On the West Coast, SCI’s efforts also contributed to the successful vote by the California Fish and Game Commission against extending the current lead ammunition ban for big game hunting to the hunting of small game and upland birds in so-called condor “range.” SCI filed comments that agreed with the finding of the California Fish and Game Department that the extension of the ban was not supported by the science.
The participation of Safari Club International (SCI) in a federal lawsuit has helped ensure that hunters in Idaho and Montana can continue hunting wolves under state seasons. The Montana federal court denied a preliminary injunction requested by Defenders of Wildlife and other plaintiffs who sued to stop the hunting season, and to challenge the delisting of Idaho and Montana’s wolves.
SCI was also instrumental in successfully challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s ban on the import of polar bears from Canada. When the FWS listed the polar bear as threatened in May 2008, it also determined that imports of polar bear legally hunted from approved populations in Canada would no longer be allowed, as they had been for the previous 12 years. In June, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia rebuffed the FWS’s attempt to have SCI’s lawsuit dismissed without full briefing on the merits.
Another key research project funded by SCI involves the decline of woodland caribou in northern Quebec and Labrador. The caribou herds are vital to the local Inuit and Cree Indians who hunt them for subsistence, but also rely on income generated from guiding and outfitting hunters. Early indications have shown that loss of habitat and predation by black bears are two crucial factors that need to be addressed in order to preserve this resource and hunting opportunity.
These are just a few examples of the conservation efforts in North America that are made possible through the generous support of its Convention exhibitors, donors, advertisers, members and corporate sponsors. For more information on these and other conservation projects in North America, visit the SCI web site at www.safariclub.org.
SCI-First For Hunters is the leader in protecting the freedom to hunt and in promoting wildlife conservation worldwide. SCI’s approximately 190 Chapters represent all 50 of the United States as well as 18 other countries. SCI’s proactive leadership in a host of cooperative wildlife conservation, outdoor education and humanitarian programs, with the SCI Foundation and other conservation groups, research institutions and government agencies, empowers sportsmen to be contributing community members and participants in sound wildlife management and conservation. Visit the home page www.safariclub.org or call (520) 620-1220 for more information.
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