April 7, 2008
Safari Club Targets Endangered Species
If Safari Club International had its way, would any animal be protected from trophy hunting?
Though SCI claims to value conservation, the group's actions speak louder than its words. SCI ads littered throughout airports across the country may look like pages from National Geographic, but SCI consistently lobbies to remove bans prohibiting the hunting and importation of trophies of specific animals. SCI even encourages the removal of protections from some endangered species.
Over the last several decades, SCI has helped to downlist many species from "endangered" to "threatened" status so that hunters could legally kill them.
- In 1979, SCI sought government approval to import not-yet-killed 1,125 trophies of 40 endangered species, including gorillas, cheetahs, tigers, orangutans and snow leopards. SCI claimed its goal was "scientific research" and "incentive for propagation and survival of the species." The request was denied.
- SCI helped relax protections that had been granted to the bontebok; cheetah; white rhino; mountain zebra; African elephant; red, black and Kafue lechwe; African leopard; argali sheep; markhor; crocodile; hippo; African lion; cougar; lynx; wolf and grizzly bear.
- SCI supports the hunting of critically endangered black rhinos.
- SCI went to court in support of hunting endangered antelope species on captive hunting ranches in the United States.
- SCI lobbied to downlist the African elephant from "endangered" to "threatened" so they could be killed by trophy hunters.
- SCI sued former Interior Secretary Cecil Andrus to limit the Fish and Wildlife Service's regulatory power over the Endangered Species Act. The lawsuit successfully demanded that African leopards, lechwes, bontboks, argalis and grizzly bears be reclassified so they could be shot. SCI led a campaign to revise the Endangered Species Act to include language favorable to hunters, including removing statements that said hunting was a cause of endangerment, even though hunting has led not only to the endangerment of many species but to their extinction.
- SCI petitioned the Interior Department to review the population status of species protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, stating that a moratorium on importing polar bears and walrus was detrimental to the species.
- SCI even sued the Department of the Interior and the Agriculture and Federal Subsistence Board because native subsistence hunters in Alaska were given hunting preference over out-of-state trophy hunters. The Native American Rights Fund opposed SCI's claim, but eventually lost.
Updated April 7, 2008