Safari Club International (SCI) Foundation would like to express extreme gratitude to the SCI Staff, SCI Members, Chapters, the Hunters Legacy Fund, SCI Foundation Board of Directors and the hunting community who demonstrated their commitment to science-based wildlife management around the world. Once again, sportsmen and women have shown leadership in generosity, in excess of $1.3 million, to solve complex natural resource management issues. Plans are underway to use these funds to leverage additional support from partners in the conservation community which will increase the impact of the contributions, and enhance the overall scope of our lion research initiative, Fighting For Lions. The SCI Foundation Staff and Conservation Committee met on the Monday after the Convention’s Saturday night fundraiser to begin developing a comprehensive strategy to collect the necessary data and educate decision makers about the real threats to the sustainability of the species.
The concern about potential listing of the lion as endangered under the United States Endangered Species Act and continuing dialogue about the appropriateness of large cat trade at international conventions such as CITES are two major obstacles to sustainable-use of both lions and leopards. On-the-ground census data of both species is the best way to ensure populations can support harvest by international hunters. As most SCI members know, the revenue provided by hunting is crucial to community involvement in wildlife conservation. A public outreach campaign to educate the public in the lion range states, North America and Europe about the facts of lions and lion hunting is critical to the overall success of this initiative, and regular communication products are planned. With recent closures of big cat hunting in Zambia and the recently announced elimination of science-based management of wildlife in Botswana, assisting governments with sound lion and leopard information is extremely timely.
Do your part to save the African lion for future generations, DONATE to SCI Foundation/Fighting For Lions today!
SCI Foundation has access to the most-respected lion experts in the world through collaboration on big cat projects previously funded through the Conservation Department. The Conservation Committee is working with international experts to confront critical issues affecting lions and lion hunting on an aggressive timeline. Examples of issues planned to be addressed in upcoming programs include focus on improving tolerance of lions, mitigating human encroachment on natural areas/hunting concessions, limiting habitat loss and improving land use planning. Another key part of this initiative will focus on reducing human-lion conflicts. Fighting For Lions will examine enhanced anti-poaching measures by contacting and canvassing other countries for their experience with successful anti-poaching programs that have proven effective in the field. SCI Foundation will also continue its long running work with lion experts to refine lion census techniques to produce the best possible information on lion distribution and abundance.
SCI Foundation Staff and the Conservation Committee understand the urgency of issues surrounding the future management of the African lion. Maintaining professional relationships with the countries where lions exist is of utmost importance. Without local assistance in wildlife management, objectives are much more difficult to meet. This multi-faceted initiative will assist in keeping big cats on the landscape for future generations. Making the best use of the human and financial resources made available by the generosity of hunters greatly increases our ability to have a meaningful effect on lion management. It is our plan to augment the quality of science applied to lion management and we trust that effective dissemination and education will help turn the tide of emotional non-science so pervasive in the issues surrounding the management of charismatic and iconic species like the African lion.