There has been a lot of misinformation surrounding the selection of hunters to serve on the Department of Interior’s newly-formed International Wildlife Conservation Council (IWCC). The council was established last November to be under the purview of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
The Council was created with the following goals in mind: to increase “public awareness domestically regarding the conservation, wildlife law enforcement, and economic benefits that result from U.S. citizens traveling to foreign nations to engage in hunting.” Moreover, members of the IWCC will advise Interior Secretary Zinke “on the benefits international 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.” More goals are listed here.
Prominent members of this newly established council include Safari Club International (SCI) president Paul Babaz, professional bowhunter Cameron Hanes, lobbyist and NRA director of hunting Erica Rhoad, Congressional Sportsman Foundation vice president Gary Kania, former Congressman Bill Brewster (D-OK), and others. Two non-hunters who’ll serve on the IWCCinclude former Atlanta zoo director and co-author of “A Contract with the Earth” (with Newt Gingrich) Terry Maple and zoo/wildlife veterinarian professor Jenifer Chatfield. All council members will serve three-year terms.
Following the establishment of this council, various so-called conservation groups railed against the IWCC. One group, the Africa Wildlife Foundation, issued this troubling statement objecting to the council’s creation citing the presence of trophy hunters.
The Natural Resources Defense Fund (NRDF) falsely suggested the IWCC exists to exclusively promote “the killing of more imperiled species, like elephants and lions, for sport.” (Leo DiCaprio is one of their Board of Trustees, so take their statement with a grain of salt.)
The Humane Society called the IWCC a “trophy hunting trade association masquerading as a public panel.” This is the same Humane Society that deliberately deceives its donors into thinking they are supporting animal welfare, when in fact, the opposite is true.
To add insult to injury, these various so-called conservation groups either receive huge financial backing from Democrats or oppose hunting altogether. They aren’t exactly helping their cause with this fierce opposition to the IWCC.