For Immediate Release: November 15, 2017
Arusha, Tanzania – The 15th meeting of the African Wildlife Consultative Forum (AWCF) in Arusha, Tanzania began today with a discussion on African lions and leopards before moving into a discussion on policy including this year’s Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS) and the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES). This year has the highest-level participation ever with delegates and wildlife managers from 10 African nations along with three permanent secretaries (Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Tanzania) and the US Fish and Wildlife Service Director.
“AWCF is once again serving as an important forum to resolve African wildlife management problems. This year we have a record attendance of delegates representing 10 Sub-Saharan safari destinations. The forum is perhaps the only time that the government managers and safari operators get together to resolve issues” said Dr. Al Maki, Chair of SCI Foundation Conservation Committee. “AWCF has provided the opportunity to begin resolving the Tanzanian hunting concession allocation and gave the USFWS the forum to announce an enhancement finding for imported elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia” he stated. “We are now focusing on providing the best wildlife science to ensure we can support continued sustainable use management of lions and leopards well into the future” he added.
Officially kicking off on Tuesday, November 14th, AWCF will continue through Friday, November 17th. Another topic of focus was the economics of hunting and the need for collaborative communications within the sustainable use community. Updated information on the economic impact of hunting-related tourism will also help SCI Foundation and our partners continue our valuable conservation efforts.
At the core of management problems with lions and leopards is our inability to reliably census populations in the range state nations of Sub- Saharan Africa. Lacking accurate or reliable statistics on population trends, agencies are reluctant to issue export or import permits and sustainable use objectives are difficult to establish. To address these problems of measuring big cat populations, the AWCF agenda today focused on state of the science field methods and featured currently funded lion census work in the Serengeti. Wildlife managers from lion range state countries presented their methods and count data for lions and leopards. It is this information that will be used to combat anti-hunting initiatives brewing in the EU and within the CITES community.
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