Hype and Hypocrisy.

The Center for Biological Diversity (a rather official sounding name for an AR group, they normally go for names like “Born Free” or “Defenders of Wildlife”) is pissed off. According to the website, their mission is to “save life on earth” and the US secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, is not helping things.

In November Zinke set up the International Wildlife Council. Its focus is centered on increased public awareness domestically regarding conservation, wildlife law enforcement, and economic benefits that result from U.S. citizens traveling abroad to hunt.

“Built on the backs of hunters and anglers, the American conservation model proves to be the example for all nations to follow for wildlife and habitat conservation,” Secretary Zinke said. “The conservation and long-term health of big game crosses international boundaries. This council will provide important insight into the ways that American sportsmen and women benefit international conservation from boosting economies and creating hundreds of jobs to enhancing wildlife conservation.”

A pretty unambiguous statement in anyone’s book.

The Council will advise the Secretary of the Interior on the benefits that international recreational hunting has on foreign wildlife and habitat conservation, anti-poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking programs, and other ways in which international hunting benefits human populations in these areas.

The duties of the Council will be solely advisory and will include, but not be limited to:

  • Develop a plan for public engagement and education on the benefits of international hunting.
  • Review and make recommendations for changes, when needed, on all Federal programs, and/or regulations, to ensure support of hunting as:

◦ An enhancement to foreign wildlife conservation and survival;

◦ An effective tool to combat illegal trafficking and poaching;

◦ An economic engine and job-creating force for local communities.

  • Develop strategies to benefit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s permit office in receiving timely country data and information so as to remove barriers that impact consulting with range states.
  • Recommend removal of barriers to the importation into the United States of legally hunted wildlife.
  • Ongoing review of import suspension/bans and provide recommendations that seek to resume the legal trade of those items, where appropriate.
  • Review seizure and forfeiture actions/practices and provide recommendations to regulations that will lead to a reduction of unwarranted actions.
  • Review the Endangered Species Act’s foreign listed species and interaction with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna, with the goal of eliminating regulatory duplications.
  • Recommend streamlining/expedite process of import permits.

So now we know the council’s brief the Center for Biodiversity is complaining that, “Fifteen of the council’s 16 members have trophy hunting or gun ties.”  No shit, this is a council set up to promote the benefits of hunting to wildlife, habitat and local communities. Why would there be anyone opposed to this principal on the council? It would be like inviting a vegan to sit on the board of the meat producer’s association.

So why is the (American) Center for Biodiversity so concerned about hunting in foreign lands? Simple, money. Raise a stink, tell everyone about how indignant you are and watch the money roll in. It’s also a pretty cost effective way of doing it, there aren’t too many input costs. No need to go to Africa to find out the truth.

Anti-hunting groups were present at the first council meeting. They included the Human Society of the U.S., Born Free, Defenders of Wildlife AND the Center for Biological Diversity. Various expert presentations were given on the importance of sustainable use conservation and hunters’ dollars and how rural communities across Africa benefit from this.

The antis countered with predictable, prepared statements devoid of substance. President Trump and his sons were lambasted for good measure. No doubt these organizations went home feeling good about themselves with plenty to report back to the faithful about how they took on ZInke and his council.

One has to wonder if they gave any thought to the countless rural black Africans who across the continent that same night would have had to sit in their corn fields and fight off crop-raiding elephant with nothing but drums and fire torches.

Apparently protesters were going to gather outside the venue of the council’s wearing elephant masks. Now that really would have scared the crap out of the council members as they filed into the meeting.