Safari Club International and SCI Foundation (collectively Safari Club) hosted the first ever Latin America – US Leadership Forum at the 2016 SCI Convention earlier this month. The forum is a new venue for information sharing on wildlife trade policy and collaboration on sustainable-use conservation issues. Wildlife experts and government delegates from around Latin America, including Brazil, Mexico, and Peru participated.
The Latin America – US Leadership Forum brings together stakeholders to discuss common approaches to wildlife conservation, particularly with regard to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES is an international treaty among 182 nations that ensures the sustainability of trade in thousands of species of animals and plants.
Poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking is not unique to any one part of the world. Latin America also struggles with these problems. Much of the meeting was devoted to discussing national anti-poaching strategies.
South America is an extremely diverse continent with a rich hunting heritage. The Amazon rainforest is a global biodiversity hotspot. Brazil alone is home to perhaps 20% of total global biodiversity. The alpine cloud forests of Peru and the Andes host a variety of endemic species found nowhere else on Earth, including a number of primate species. Many Latin American countries have natural resource-based economies that depend upon the utilization of wildlife.
SCI Foundation has a history of supporting conservation projects in Latin America, including projects on jaguars in Paraguay and Sonoran bighorn sheep. Jaguars are an iconic species of Latin America. The big cat needs vast amounts of protected habitat, which will require international collaboration. Safari Club can help enable this international collaboration by bringing nations together.
Safari Club works to ensure that sustainable-use benefits to both people and wildlife are protected in the international policy arena. As anti-hunting sentiment grows throughout North America and Europe, it is increasingly important for the sustainable-use community to reach consensus with regard to CITES and wildlife policy. Safari Club is working to build cohesive approaches and strengthen relationships within the Latin American region. The Latin America – US Leadership Forum is the start of a bright future for collaboration between Safari Club and Latin American countries on policy and wildlife conservation.
For more information on Safari Club’s work at CITES, read this First For Wildlife post.
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