Promoting conservation, outdoor education, and humanitarian programs worldwide.
On June 9, 2014, the Wildlife Trafficking Council held their third public meeting to discuss and adopt recommendations for the implementation of the National Strategy to combat wildlife trafficking. SCI Foundation attended and presented comments at this meeting, as did Charles Jonga, Director of Community Areas Management Programs For Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE) in Zimbabwe.
CAMPFIRE directs innovative rural development strategies that increase the economic benefits of communities reliant on wildlife. Mr. Jonga traveled from Zimbabwe to give insight to anti-poaching efforts currently supported by his organization. He encouraged the US to partner with CAMPFIRE to support community based management and addressed the impacts certain policies may have on private organizations like CAMPFIRE. Some important key points from his presentation included:
U.S hunters play a very important role in the conservation of the African elephant and other species and directly contribute to the wellbeing of local communities. Regulated hunting provides about $1.2 million annually for local communities. This funding goes back into the hunted areas, to provide income for anti-poaching patrols and to fund community projects, land management, drought relief and more.
Mr. Jonga explained that with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service’s recent ban on importations from Zimbabwe and Tanzania, his country stands to lose millions of dollars. This in turn will cause the communities and its wildlife to suffer. CAMPFIRE feels that the ban is going against what President Obama’s wildlife trafficking initiative originally intended.
At the meetings conclusion, the President’s Advisory Council forwarded 19 recommendations to the Presidential task force. One recommendation states that the “task force should partner with the private sector and the international community and potentially support establishment of an African wildlife trafficking information center.”
Private, community-based resource management may be the key to combatting poaching and the Advisory Council should continue to draft recommendations that encourage these programs. SCI Foundation commends Director Jonga on his efforts to inform policy makers and hopes the Council considers his presentation in future decision making.
Twice a week, SCI Foundation informs readers about conservation initiatives happening worldwide and updates them on SCI Foundation’s news, projects and events. Tuesdays are dedicated to an Issue of the Week and Thursday’s Weekly Updates will provide an inside look into research and our other science-based conservation efforts. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more SCI Foundation news.