SCI Foundation has recently partnered with Conservation Visions Inc. and committed to supporting the ongoing Wild Harvest Initiative (WHI). The initiative is a collaborative effort among the hunting and wildlife conservation community to estimate the nutritional and economic value of recreational wild protein harvest across all of North America.
The WHI is the first attempt to examine wild protein on such an immense scale. The multi-year study is being conducted by Dr. Shane Mahoney, President and CEO of Conservation Visions Inc., in partnership with wildlife agencies and a large NGO network.
“Understanding the scale of personal noncommercial harvest by hunters and anglers has huge implications for conservation,” says Mahoney. “Our initiative is intimately connected to food security, wildlife management, cultural traditions, human health, agriculture, and land use policy.”
In addition to the challenge of calculating total biomass of wild protein and its value in the United States and Canada, the initiative is looking at the ecological and financial costs of replacing that food source. The WHI seeks to reframe the debate over the modern relevance of hunting and fishing by addressing the policy that governs wildlife access and utilization.
“Wild protein harvest is one of the most ecologically sustainable methods of food procurement,” states Warren Sackman, President of SCI Foundation. “The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation is based on the democratic access and sustainable use of wildlife.”
With an estimated 15.5 million hunters and 37 million anglers in the United States and Canada, the challenge is clear. Already, the WHI has made progress in data collection, partnered with several agencies and IUCN’s Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group, and published a state of knowledge report on wild protein consumption patterns.
“The harvest and consumption of wildlife is an integral part of human existence, critical to the diet, economy, culture, and livelihoods of billions of people around the world,” stated Dr. Alan Maki, Chairman of SCI Foundation’s Conservation Committee. “This initiative is in line with our mission of sustainable use for the benefit of both wildlife and people.”
The Wild Harvest Initiative brings together a powerful group of sustainable use supporters. Conservation Visions Inc. is a private conservation organization focused on building boarder coalitions in support of biodiversity and sustainable use. To learn more about Conservation Visions Inc. and the Wild Harvest Initiative, visit their website at http://conservationvisions.com/wild-harvest-initiative.