SCI Asks President Trump To Lift Hold On African Elephant Import Permits

Tucson, AZ – Today, Safari Club International President Paul Babaz sent a letter to President Trump, asking him to direct Secretary Ryan Zinke to lift the hold that he placed on the authorization of import permits for elephants legally hunted in Zimbabwe and Zambia.

In the letter, SCI addressed multiple reasons why the hold should be lifted and corrected many of the common misconceptions about hunting, conservation and the elephant populations in Zimbabwe and Zambia. The text of that letter to President Trump follows:


November 20, 2017

Dear Mr. President:


On behalf of the 50,000 members of Safari Club International, I respectfully ask you to direct Secretary Ryan Zinke to lift the hold that he placed on the authorization of import permits for elephants legally hunted in Zimbabwe and Zambia.  By supporting Secretary’s Zinke’s authorization of import permits, you can reverse the senseless acts perpetrated by the Obama administration against hunting and the sustainable use conservation of African wildlife.  The Obama Administration’s refusal to authorize the importation of African elephants from countries, including Zimbabwe and Zambia, deprived those countries of resources they rely on to manage their wildlife, fight poaching and encourage community participation in conservation.  It is now time to put an end to the previous administration’s prejudicial and unsupported bias against hunting as a tool in wildlife management and conservation.

Secretary Zinke and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have made crucial, scientifically supported determinations about hunting and the U.S. importation of African elephants from Zimbabwe and Zambia.  Not only did the Department of the Interior’s wildlife and legal experts determine that the hunting and importation from these two countries will not hurt the African elephant species, they determined that the importation of legally hunted elephants from these two countries would “enhance the survival” of African elephants.  In short, they recognized, based on data they received from the wildlife management authorities of the two countries, the results of a species wide African elephant census, and the conclusions of the parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora, that hunting and U.S. importation would help conserve African elephants.

Unfortunately, many people who oppose the importation of legally hunted elephants from Zimbabwe and Zambia incorrectly believe that a ban on importation will actually stop the killing of African elephants.  Let me assure you that a U.S. ban on importation will not stop the killing of elephants in Zimbabwe and Zambia.  Without the removal of elephants by U.S. hunters, others will find the need or the opportunity to kill those elephants, both for illegal and legal purposes.  Whether it is by poachers seeking to gain from the commercial value of the ivory, local residents attempting to remove a problem animal or hunters from other countries around the world taking advantage of bargain hunts not booked by U.S. hunters, elephants will continue to be removed from Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Most people who oppose hunting and importation of elephants are unaware of the role that hunting plays in fighting the greatest threat to elephant conservation—poaching.  Hunting concessions use money received from their clients to hire, feed and outfit anti-poaching patrols.  For example, few people know that it was a hunting business in Zimbabwe that discovered and helped apprehend the perpetrators of one of the most egregious poaching crimes in recent history — the poisoning of over 100 elephants in Hwange National Park.  It was a hunting business that discovered the poisoned elephants and helped finance the effort, including the use of helicopter surveillance, that resulted in the apprehension of the poachers.  In another example, a hunting business in northern Zimbabwe established the Dande Anti-Poaching Unit (DAPU) in 2014.  DAPU’s anti-poaching efforts have significantly reduced the number of illegal wildlife killings in the vicinity of the Dande Safari area.  These are just two examples of the hunting businesses who have been struggling to wage the battle against poaching, without the help of money from U.S. elephant hunters.  Without the influx of U.S. dollars to help support anti-poaching efforts, poachers will have an easier time of illegally killing elephants solely to sell the ivory for commercial gain.

Not all poaching is carried out by criminals who seek to make a profit from their ivory. Sometimes poaching – the illegal killing of an animal – is an act of necessity or frustration.  Local villages often find the need to kill elephants as to protect their livelihoods from the damages caused by elephants who roam into agricultural areas and trample crops and structures.  When elephants are not harvested by international hunters, those elephants often become the victims of retaliatory killings.  However, when elephants have significant value due to the jobs and revenue they generate for the community, local residents are far more likely to tolerate and help conserve the elephants in the vicinity – rather than kill them as nuisance animals.

Many of those opposed to U.S. importation of African elephants are unaware of the differences between hunting and poaching.  They assume that U.S. hunters care only about bringing home their “trophy.”  This misconception fails to recognize an important distinction between poachers and those who spend thousands of dollars to engage in legal hunts authorized by the country management authority.  A poacher generally kills the elephant, removes the ivory to sell it and leaves the carcass to rot.  A hunter, with aid from his professional guide or outfitter, will generally donate all the meat from the elephant to help feed local villages and communities.  Hunters and the business they bring to countries like Zimbabwe and Zambia help provide jobs for local residents as guides, cooks, drivers, etc.  Hunters often also make personal contributions to anti-poaching units and help provide financial support for community projects like the building of wells, schools etc.

Another misconception held by those who oppose the importation of legally hunted African elephants is that “more is better.”  They mistakenly assume that larger elephant populations in these countries would benefit species survival.  The truth is that, in wildlife conservation, more is not always better.  While it is true that, in some African countries, elephant populations are not as strong as they could be, that cannot be said for Zimbabwe and Zambia.  According to the recent “Great Elephant Census,” Zimbabwe’s country-wide elephant population was estimated to be 82,304.  Zambia’s elephant population was 21,758.  While the census documented a 6% decline in Zimbabwe’s elephant population since 2007, that decline did not necessarily reveal a problem for the country’s elephants.  In fact, Zimbabwe’s habitat cannot properly support a population of that number of elephants.  The country’s carrying capacity is only 50,000 elephants, according to a recent statement from Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority’s Director-General, Mr Filton Mangwanya.  Carrying capacity is the number of animals from a particular species that a region can support without environmental degradation.  Currently, Zimbabwe has an elephant population that is about 30,000 more than can be sustained by the country’s food and habitat resources.  More elephants are simply not better for elephant survival if Zimbabwe lacks the necessary resources to maintain healthy populations at that level.

Anti-hunters also believe that the U.S. alone allows individuals to import legally hunted elephants.  That simply is not the case.  Not only does the European Union and its member countries authorize importation — as do countries in Asia and South America — but so does the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES), an international treaty between more than 180 nations. CITES affirms the importation of elephants and acknowledges export quotas of elephants from both Zimbabwe and Zambia.  Economically speaking, other world countries are now benefitting from the U.S.’s failure to authorize elephant imports.  With the absence of U.S. hunters, who are often willing to pay top dollar for African elephant hunts, hunters from other countries are negotiating “bargain” excursions from African guides and outfitters who must replace lost U.S. business.  While the U.S. bans importation based on irrational and erroneous conservation principles, the rest of the world is getting a great deal at U.S. hunters’ expense.

The hunting of elephants in Zimbabwe and Zambia enhances the survival of the African elephant species.  The Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have carefully researched the facts, the science and the law and have concluded that the U.S. has had the necessary evidentiary support to authorize the importation of elephants from these two countries since early in 2016.  Hunters and conservationists have waited for many years for an importation decision that reflects the correct and verifiable facts about elephant importation and species conservation.  Safari Club International respectfully asks you to end the wait and to direct Secretary Zinke to begin issuing permits for the importation of these elephants, so that U.S. citizens can once again import the elephants that they legally hunt and actively participate in elephant conservation in Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Thank you.

Paul Babaz

President, Safari Club International

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Deer Hunting with a Purpose

By Glen Wunderlich

Never have I hunted an opening day of firearms deer season without the desire to tag a buck or even an antlerless deer for that matter.  However, there I was sitting in the dark in observation mode with my new Ruger American deer rifle in Zone III-compliant .450 Bushmaster caliber only watching for coyotes.  Having put a hefty buck in the freezer during archery deer season has meant that I cannot legally take another buck, because I purposely did not purchase a combination license.

The strategy was by design.  As a proponent of limiting hunters to one buck per hunter per season, it would be hypocritical for me to do otherwise.  Even though the law would have allowed me to take two bucks this season with proper licensing, a doe will do; antler soup is not all it’s cracked up to be.

Since I’ve gladly given the job of processing to professionals, I also know how hectic it can get right after opening day in the butcher’s domain and simply did not want to add to the mix.  Faith has a lot to do with holding off, as well, insofar as we Michigan deer hunters have until January to fill tags throughout the various seasons.

Taking a doe or two will have the benefit of reducing the total number of deer, which remains above carrying capacity in segments of the southern Zone III.  The effect will have been to minimize human/deer conflicts and vehicle collisions.  Yes, we are still paying the price for previous deer management strategies that focused on sheer numbers.

Healthy herd management also dictates that we attempt to balance the buck-to-doe ratio to more natural conditions – and, based on personal observation, we still have a lot to do.

And, then there is the issue of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) for which the only known measure of control is to reduce over-populated deer densities.  With this in mind, the DNR has reduced the cost of antlerless tags to $12 in the CWD management zones.

Another concern is that young people are hunting in fewer numbers, and consequently, new hunters are not replacing the senior hunters as they age.  As a Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) enthusiast and member, I’ll be one of some 40,000+ members to share my hunting experiences this season as a mentor for youngsters in an effort to promote our hunting heritage and tradition.  In fact, QDMA’s new five-year goals place intensified effort into programs that fall into this effort, including hunting access, hunter recruitment, venison donation, and hunter education.

The future of hunting is in the balance of sportsmen and women who understand the value of connectivity to nature and the importance of sustainability for generations to come.

DSC: Positive Elephant Finding Best Decision for Conservation, Anti-Poaching

Dallas, TX —Dallas Safari Club (DSC) applauds the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announcement regarding a positive enhancement finding for elephants in the countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe. The positive enhancement standard is strict, and requires that the Service find “that the [animal] is taken as part of a well-managed conservation program that contributes to the long-term survival of the species.”

Because this decision is based on sound scientific data, not on emotion or politics, the role of legal, regulated sport hunting is shown to be vital in the conservation of wildlife worldwide. Additionally, where there is hunting, anti-poaching programs are the strongest.

Increased anti-poaching efforts across Africa – including K-9 units, motorcycle, aircraft patrols and drone use – have been funded by hunter revenue directly or by hunting organizations’ grants and programs. For example, DSC Foundation has disbursed considerable funds in the past five years in the fight against poaching – including grants to Zambezi Delta Safaris, needed equipment for patrols, training for game scouts at the Southern Africa Wildlife College and others. Read more

Michigan: Federal Lab Confirms Montcalm County Deer Had CWD

This is second hunter-harvested CWD-positive deer in Montcalm County; three additional suspect positives awaiting confirmation

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced today that the 1.5-year-old buck, harvested last month in Sidney Township (Montcalm County), was confirmed positive for chronic wasting disease by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa. This is the 11th case of CWD to be confirmed in a free-ranging deer in Michigan.

Since the harvest of that deer, three additional suspect positive deer – all from Montcalm County, in Pine, Reynolds and Sidney townships – are awaiting confirmation. Read more

ZEISS Announces Conquest V6 Riflescope and Terra ED Binocular Holiday Promotion

Thornwood, NY –The ZEISS holiday promotion includes a FREE pair of 10×42 Terra ED binoculars with any ZEISS Conquest V6 riflescope purchase. Purchase either of the three Conquest V6 models available beginning at $1,549.99. Select from the 1-6×24, the 3-18×50, or the 5-30×50 model, and ZEISS will gift you a new pair of 10×42 Terra ED binoculars. This represents a $449.99 value.

The10x42 Terra ED binoculars can be redeemed at time of purchase, and are available through participating ZEISS Authorized Dealers. Read more

SCI Ushers In New Era For Hunting

Safari Club International this week took the first step in a new approach to protecting the freedom to hunt by stepping out boldly to tell the story of hunters and hunting. SCI will speak out about hunting and all the good that it does. SCI will be quick to respond when hunting is criticized. SCI will let the world know that we are proud to be hunters and proud of our contribution to conservation.

SCI was the first organization to learn of the change in U.S. Fish and Wildlife policy that now allows the importation of elephants from Zimbabwe and Zambia. SCI immediately posted a news release about this good news. Anti-hunters and news media outlets went into overdrive, attacking everyone in sight, including the Trump Administration, SCI and the National Rifle Association of America.

SCI was quick to respond with the facts. SCI President Paul Babaz took to the airwaves with media interviews, including an appearance on CNNi, where he told the story of how hunting fits into effective wildlife management to segments of society that normally do not learn about the good things SCI and hunters do around the world. He spoke from the heart and from his hunting experience. He spoke about the human side of the story where a downed elephant fed schoolchildren who had not had meat to eat in months.

“We will be more proactive and not back down,” President Babaz said, as he outlined SCI’s new communications strategy. “For me, it’s not as much about winning a debate as it is having our voices heard, being able to deliver some indisputable scientific facts, and lastly, represent all hunters as a proud hunter myself. We shouldn’t be afraid to put ourselves out there, even though they may make us look bad. We owe it to ourselves, our members and hunters worldwide to be the representatives they expect us to be.” Read more

Springfield Armory XD-E .45 ACP

“The Most Important Tool in the Toolbox” Now Offered in Both 9mm and .45 calibers.GENESEO, ILL. – Springfield Armory® is pleased to announce a new XD-E chambered for .45 ACP. Now buyers have a choice of 9mm or .45 stopping power in a pistol designed for comfort, concealability, safety and with special attention to its ease of operation.

Like its 9mm sibling, the new .45 model sculpts XD-E Point & Shoot Ergonomics™ into a sleek polymer frame just an inch wide, for ideal hand and holster fit. The Low Effort Slide (L.E.S.) requires 27% less effort to manipulate compared to striker-fired handguns in the same class. Chambering a round has never been easier thanks to the patent-pending hammer design, resulting in far fewer slipped pulls, and quicker, possibly life-saving operation when it counts. Read more

CCRKBA: Failure of Gun Laws, Legal System Allowed Rancho Tehama Rampage

BELLEVUE, WA – The horrible truth emerging in the aftermath of the Rancho Tehama Reserve rampage is that California’s legal system and restrictive gun control laws failed miserably, allowing killer Kevin Neal to remain loose and commit mass mayhem, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms said today.”After Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston’s acknowledgement that his department knew, or at least suspected, that Neal had firearms in violation of a court order and did not take proactive steps, it is clear that the legal system in Tehama County, if not the entire state, is a train wreck,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “Johnston’s revelation that Neal had four guns illegally, and that he was able to manufacture two rifles at home prove that the state’s Draconian gun control laws are a joke to be laughed at by any criminal or crazy person who wants a gun.”

Johnston told reporters Wednesday that, “we’re seeing that the more restrictive that the laws come to people that purchase firearms, we’re going to see those criminal elements build their own. That’s what they do.”

“Sheriff Johnston’s astonishingly candid remark literally eviscerates California’s piecemeal gun prohibition strategy,” Gottlieb observed. “Here was a man who was out on bail, on multiple felony charges, and who was a walking violation of every major gun control law in the state.

“The explanation for not confronting Neal is simply outrageous,” he continued. “Johnston said Neal was ‘not law enforcement friendly.’ What a shock! Neal was facing felony prosecution, his neighbors had a restraining order and he had apparently been shooting guns that he wasn’t supposed to have, on his property. Of course he’s not going to be friendly, but that’s why we have search warrants and SWAT teams and jails. Read more

Kimber KHX Family of 1911 Handguns

YONKERS, N.Y. — Kimber Mfg., Inc., a leading American firearms manufacturer, today announced the release of the optics-ready Kimber® KHX of 1911-style handguns. Available in five new variants, all KHX models are available chambered in 9mm or .45 ACP.
With a remarkable yet functional design, Kimber KHX 1911’s are ideal for a wide range of product uses, such as, concealed carry, home defense and target shooting.

The optics-ready (OR) Kimber KHX is available in Custom (5″) and Pro (4″) sizes, and features an optics ready milled slide that accepts optics plates for Vortex, Trijicon, and Leupold red dot sights, a rear white-dot site mounted plate for use when an red dot sight is not present, a co-witnessing sized front white dot sight, stepped hexagonal slide serrations and top strap serrations for positive slide manipulation, a match-grade barrel, KimPro® gray finish on slide and frame, Hogue® Enhanced MagGrip G10 grips with matching G10 mainspring housing, stiplex front strap stippling for grip confidence, and a premium aluminum trigger. The Pro-sized model comes with a rounded heel frame. Read more

Kimber Introduces Stainless 1911 Long Slide

YONKERS, N.Y. — Kimber Mfg., Inc., a leading American firearms manufacturer, today announced the introduction of the Stainless™ 1911 Long Slide (LS). The Stainless (LS) is available in .45 ACP and 10mm

With Kimber’s signature modern-classic style, the new Stainless (LS) embody all the custom features found standard on every Kimber 1911, proving once again that Kimber simultaneously produces America’s highest quality 1911 and offers the best value.

The Stainless (LS) is built from superior quality raw materials that are both machined and hand-crafted into the 1911 that all others are measured against. Each Stainless (LS) features a 6″ barrel and slide hand-fitted to the frame, dovetail mounted rear adjustable target sight and front red fiber optic sight, a beveled magazine well, match-grade trigger, and refined scallop/checkered rosewood grips with the Kimber logo. Available in both .45 ACP and 10mm, the suggested retail prices are $1,075 and $1,055 respectively. Read more

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