SCI Foundation, HOPE, African Delegates Meet for Anti-Poaching Discussion

On Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017, SCI Foundations’s Matt Lewis, The Humanitarian Operations Protecting Elephants COO Catherine E. Semcer and officials from wildlife conservation organizations in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania and Uganda met for an open-ended discussion about the challenges, pitfalls and successes related to poaching at SCI Convention 2017.

SCI Foundation, who’s goal to fund and direct wildlife programs dedicated to wildlife conservation and outdoor education, have funded many long-term, on-going projects that work directly with nations like Zimbabwe, Uganda, Tanzania and Namibia.

Since 2008, the organization has poured more than $3.5 million in projects, working to benefit twelve species in fourteen total nations.

HOPE is a non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to delivering world class solutions to challenges in natural resource conservation.

With a century of combined experience in wildlife management, military special operations and intelligence, global business ventures, non-profit governance and international relations, we are uniquely positioned to respond to the ongoing crisis of elephant poaching on the African Continent.

African Lion
African Lion

The major takeaways from the discussion were how to better support and reinforce anti-poaching efforts.

Some of interesting concepts/ideas discussed include:

  • Increasing penalties via litigation to worsen punishments for those caught poaching.
  • Offering low-level poachers deals to get to the kingpins and orchestration of major poaching rings, thus cutting of the head of the snake.
  • Providing uniforms, high-level training and support to rangers and ranger programs.
  • Working with U.S. states, African nations to push legislative actions.
  • Working with U.S. Native American trides to better handle animals, resources on sovereign nation’s land.
  • Broadening to finding support beyond the private section, hunting based programs.

Changes like these can go a long way to making significant reforms within a nation.

For example, Zambia banned hunting in 2012. By the time the hunting ban was lifted in 2014, the level of poaching dropped a consiterable amount.

After the ban was lifted, a considerable amount of effort, enthusiasm and resources were poured into the protection of the nations vital areas. However, this high amount of effort and resources is a tough thing to maintain. The efforts unfortunately proved not to be viable over a long-term period of time.

Cecil the lion (left) and Walter Palmer, the US dentist
Cecil the lion (left) and Walter Palmer, the US dentist

Another important point brought to the table was the symbiotic relationship between African safari hunters and the conservation programs within those African countries.

Take Tanzania, for example. Those hunting programs pour money generated from safaris back into the communities around them, building schools, important programs, infrastructure and providing the meat for village consumption.

Without the money the safari’s provide, Tanzanian wild lands would quickly be swallowed up by cattle farms and civilizations looking to expand.

Simply put, without the hunters the African nations would suffer greatly.

Recently, due to the negative press associated with safari hunting, such as the Cecil the Lion controversy, the interest in African safaris recently has dropped off slightly.

The seminar was a productive discussion that highlight the complicated, multifaceted aspects of poaching prevention.


About Safari Club International Foundation:

Safari Club International Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that funds and directs worldwide programs dedicated to wildlife conservation and outdoor education. Any contribution may be tax deductible under Internal Revenue Code section 170(c) as a charitable contribution to the extent permitted by law. Tax deductible amount of gift is reduced by the “Fair market Value” of any goods, services, or advantages that a sponsor receives for the donation. EIN #86-0292099.

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Safari Club International – First For Hunters is the leader in protecting the freedom to hunt and in promoting wildlife conservation worldwide. SCI has approximately 200 Chapters worldwide and its members represent all 50 of the United States as well as 106 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.

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