Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Conservation Force - Polar Bear Emergency!

Please check out the following information from Conservation Force, they are doing a tremendous job of working for all hunters benefit in the situation of the Polar Bear!

I got the following email from Conservation Force:


You are more than welcome to use the letter. It is attached as well as the World Conservation Force Bulletin for the past two months covering the issue.


John J. Jackson, III, Conservation Force, 3240 S I-10 Service Road W., Suite200, Metairie, Louisiana 70001, (504) 837-1233, (Fax: 837-1145), www.conservationforce.org

World Conservation Force Bulletin for February 2007

Polar Bear and Trophy Imports Both in Jeopardy

The Service has completed the second stage of the review process and found that the “threatened” listing is warranted for all populations of polar bear in the world. The 12-month finding and proposal to list the bear was published in the Federal Register on January 9, 2007 that initiated a 90-day comment period that ends on April 9, 2007 (72 FR 1064). The Service is expected to complete the final listing process by December 27, 2007. After that date, importation of polar bear hunting trophies into the United States will probably not be permitted from any population found to be “threatened” in the final rule/decision because of provisions under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
There are five “factors” that are considered in determining whether or not a species should be listed as threatened or endangered. All polar bear populations were found to be qualified under two of the five. The first is loss of habitat, i.e., the projected changes in and loss of habitat. The second is the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms at this time addressing the reductions in sea ice habitat found in the first factor. The two factors are interdependent. The underlying basis of both rests upon projections and assumptions about future global warming.
The proposal is based upon the Service’s finding that “polar bear populations throughout their distribution in the circumpolar Arctic are threatened by ongoing and projected changes in their sea ice habitat.” “The primary threat with the greatest severity and magnitude of impact to the species is loss of habitat due to sea ice retreat.…” The Service found that “the diminishing extent of sea ice in the Arctic is extensively documented” and that “further recession of sea ice in the future is predicted and would exacerbate the effects observed to date on polar bears.” Note the terms “projected” and “predicted” which appear throughout the findings and proposed listing rule. The proposal is to list a species that is projected under hypotheticals or models to be at risk in the foreseeable future, not a realized state or fact at this time. Future decline of bear (adults and cubs) is said to be expected in a “medium time frame of 10-20 years,” and decline of adult bear is “medium to long term” which is “10 to more than 20 years.” Except in two populations, neither is expected to occur in the “short term” which is “10 years or less.” (Table 1, pg. 1080) The “impact” or “effect” is not quantified.
The Alaska Regional Office of the USF&WS that is processing the review found that “[i]t is predicted that sea ice habitat will be subjected to increased temperatures, earlier melt periods, increased rain on snow events, and positive feed back systems. Productivity, abundance and availability of ice seals, a primary prey base, would then be diminished by changes in sea ice. Energetic requirements of polar bears would increase for movement and obtaining food. Access to traditional denning areas would be affected. In turn, these factors will cause declines in the condition of polar bears from nutritional stress and productivity. As already evidenced in the Western Hudson Bay and Southern Beaufort Sea populations, polar bears would experience reductions in survival and recruitment rates. The eventual effect would be that polar bear populations will continue to decline. Populations would be affected differently in the rate, timing, and magnitude of impact, but within the foreseeable future, the species is likely to become endangered throughout all or a significant portion of its range due to changes in habitat. This determination satisfies the definition of a threatened species under the Act.” (Emphasis added.) Note how often the term “would” is used, as it is throughout the document. It is a projection.
The findings mimic the findings and belief of the IUCN Polar Bear Specialists Group that has itself recommended that the polar bear be upgraded to “vulnerable” on the IUCN’s Red List. That should be no surprise because the author of the 12 month finding and proposal to list is Scott Schliebe, who is the immediate past chairman of the IUCN Polar Bear Specialists Group. Most of the hundreds of citations and references are to the primary members of that Group, including the new chairman Professor Andrew Derocher.
The proposal expressly cites the Polar Bear Specialists Group’s 2005 reclassification of polar bears as “vulnerable” and states that the “basis for the classification was the projected change in sea ice, effect of climate warming on polar bear distribution and condition, and corresponding effect on reproduction and survival.” (Actually, until recently, the polar bear was always considered “vulnerable” by the Group and now it is again.) Though there is no doubt about the sincerity and expertise of the Group’s members, some observers think it unusual to have them in the regulatory driver’s seat judging their own beliefs and findings in the ultimate decision making and regulatory process. The ESA requires that the listing determination be made based upon the “best scientific and commercial” information and members of the Group are no doubt most of the foremost scientific authorities on the polar bear. Nevertheless, they are not climate experts and climate change projections are the underlying reason the bear is thought to be at risk. The Group itself upgraded the bear as “vulnerable” on the basis of prospective climate change even though there is no such criteria or listed risk under the Red List. One might say the Group’s own listing was improvised. Of course, loss of habitat from other causes is a risk criteria. One thing is certain: the Group has long been of the opinion that global warming was impacting arctic species and their studies all reflect that long before the petition to list the polar bear was filed. The studies of the immediate past Chair and current Chair of the Group have been focused on the two populations thought to be currently experiencing the most climate related trouble.
The second factor that qualifies the polar bear for listing is the “inadequate regulatory mechanisms to address sea ice recession…” Repeatedly the finding states “[w]e conclude that inadequate regulatory mechanisms to address sea ice recession are a factor that threatens the species throughout all or a significant portion of its range.” Nowhere do the findings and proposal state that the “projected” meltdown can be adequately addressed in a quantifiable way by regulation.
The Service examined all other alleged threats to the species but found that as singular factors none threatened the species throughout all or a significant portion of the bear’s range. That includes allegations of overharvest, disease, predation such as cannibalism, contaminants, ecotourism, shipping and oil and gas production. Though they do not have “population level effects” they are additive and will all have to be more closely monitored to see that regulatory action is not necessary in any particular instance. They are also already adequately being monitored and corrected for.
The 12-month review finding and listing proposal are based upon a status assessment entitled Range-Wide Status Review of the Polar Bear also completed out of the USF&WS’s Alaska office. That analysis must be seen to fully appreciate the factual basis of the proposal. The two-hundred and sixty-two page document can be found at http://alaska.fws.gov/fisheries/mmm/polarbear/pdf/Polar_Bear_%20Status_Assessment.pdf. The findings cited in the Federal Register notice are summarized from that.
At the most, only two of the 19 polar bear populations in the world have realized a decline due to the two ESA listing factors. The first is the Western Hudson Bay population that is said to have experienced a 20 percent decline, which is said to be “significant.” The actual reason for the decline is not known but all the indicators are that it is ice melt and the related reduction of available seals as prey. The Western Hudson Bay is on the southernmost limit of polar bear range and its events are seen as an early warning. Conservation Force’s information is that the characteristics of that population that are said to indicate that global warming is the cause of the decline such as loss of body weight, reproduction and cub survival actually began earlier during a record cold period. One thing is certain, correlation is not necessarily proof of causation. Actually, the decline of 1,194 bear in 1987 to 935 bear in 2004 is a loss of 259 bear in 17 years. It is not as significant when one considers the bear were at a record high in the middle 80’s. Today’s numbers may be more closely related to the long term average than stated. Nevertheless, it is the opinion of experts that the Western Hudson Bay decline and characteristics of the population suggest the cause. Although it is only 20 percent, the core population is now “projected” to fall precipitously. From our point of view a northward repositioning of those bear in their own region and out of the survey area can explain much of the apparent decline.
The other population is the Southern Beaufort Sea. That population’s decline is not yet confirmed and may not be real at all but a survey is expected to be completed in June, 2007. What is said to be alarming is that the characteristics and behavior of that population is following that of the Western Hudson Bay population. Indicators such as body size, reproduction and cub survival are decreasing.
The proposal to list is due to the expert opinion that the trend in those two populations foretells the future of all populations because the cause of the habitat loss for bear and bear prey is forecasted to both continue and worsen. Of course, the extent or measure of the impact is speculation. The bear have survived warming in prehistoric times, but under the ESA only a “significant part of the species range” need be at risk to warrant listing.
A “threatened” species is one that is likely to become “endangered” within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range. The USF&WS determined that the “foreseeable future” is 45 years for the polar bear. That is explained to be three generations, 15 years each, which is the IUCN’s Red List criteria. That is not defined by the ESA. In short, the predicted declines will occur within no more than 45 years and all populations are “projected” to be impacted sufficiently to be “threatened” today.
The USF&WS did receive the peer review of 10 independent experts in related fields of science, which have just been made available at http://alaska.fws.gov/fisheries/mmm/polarbear/issues.htm. One of those suggests that the bear will move north to the upper Arctic Basin region that is now too cold for bear and prey. In fact, even the decrease in the Western Hudson Bay population may be explained by those bear moving northward and above the usual survey area. There is evidence they are still in the area, just displaced.
We are shocked by the conjectural nature of the proposal. The idea of listing all the bear in the world because one population may be down 259 bear in 17 years, itself an exaggerated figure, is hard to swallow. The overall polar bear population of the world is near an all-time high.

Hunting & Trophy Imports

The USF&WS found that hunting was not a stand-alone threat to the bear. In fact, it held that Canada’s sport hunting program “is based on scientifically sound quotas that ensure a sustainable population.” There is no doubt that some populations are down, but then again more populations are up and at record levels. The hunted bear of Canada and Nunavut were found to be the best managed bear in the world.
The Baffin Bay population shared with Greenland is believed to have been significantly overharvested, but that problem too has been resolved with Greenland’s recent adoption of more up-to-date management and regulations.
“At the present (2006), the Service is considering removing the WH (Western Hudson Bay population) from the list” of approved populations for trophy import according to the Status Review, page 119. This is alarming to us at Conservation Force as Canada is perfectly capable of managing its own bear and it was never intended that the USF&WS be so judgmental when the trophy import provision to the MMPA (Marine Mammal Protection Act) was passed, Section 104 in 1994. The Service is acting on the basis of language added in 1994 by Senator John Kerry, who was lobbied by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).
Everything in the finding suggests that the Gulf of Boothia population is well-managed and increasing, but that population, like all those in the world, is proposed for listing because of projections over the next 45 years, “foreseeable future.” It has been years since Conservation Force petitioned the USF&WS to approve that population but the listing petition seems to be in limbo while the listing process continues. (That population is up from 900 in the 1990’s to 1,523 in 2000.)
We are shocked at the cavalier reliance upon and acceptance of weather predictions (global warming) and projections. We are alarmed at the misleading press releases and media reports that the listing that is proposed would initiate a “recovery” effort worldwide. The ESA does not provide for recovery programs, critical habitat designations, cooperative arrangements or funding of species in foreign lands. Listing may provide one or all of those benefits to Alaska, but it is misleading to suggest benefits to foreign species from listing. To the contrary, listing will immediately prohibit the import of bear hunting trophies into the United States, effective the day of the listing. The Nunavut communities will lose more than 3 million dollars per year in income and Russia will lose one thousand per U.S. import.
There is a provision in the ESA that provides that the USF&WS should not regulate the importation of hunting trophies of species listed as “threatened” when they are already protected on Appendix II of CITES, as is the polar bear. Consequently, the published proposal to list the polar bear states that special rules are “not applicable.” (Page 1,099) Unfortunately, the Marine Mammals Protection Act has an express provision that importation of trophies of marine mammals are prohibited if it is listed as “threatened.” Specifically the MMPA prohibits the import of marine mammals from “depleted” populations (Section 102).
“[T]he term ‘depletion’ or ‘depleted’ means any case in which…a species or population stock is listed as…a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973,” Section 103(1)(c): 16 USC 1362(1)(c).
The USF&WS states in the finding and proposal that “we anticipate conducting an evaluation of the merits of continuing the presently authorized imports” of “importation of polar bear trophies taken from approved populations in Canada into the United States.” This is independently of the listing of the species, so it may see fit to disapprove some areas even if they are not ultimately listed. This is a warning that they are considering closing some imports regardless.
The Service mentions a longstanding exception to the general prohibition against importation of depleted/threatened species under the MMPA. It suggests a permit under the MPMA may be available even for a listed polar bear if one can prove that it is “enhancing the survival or recovery of a species or stock,” citing 104(c) of the MMPA. That means some few may be importable but we can assure you that would be an arduous undertaking. That general exception existed before the sport hunting exception of 1994, yet no bear was importable. Moreover, the Service has never even seen fit to adopt related regulations though they have such for research and museum purposes (50 CFR 18.31). In fact, the longstanding regulations require “proof of enhancement” for research or museum permits. It has never been understood or interpreted to apply to hunting trophies being imported for personal use. It appears to be misleading like the suggestion of a worldwide recovery effort when the ESA has no such provision and bear are already at or near a historical high.
Our view is that the findings and assessment are both conspicuous for what is not said or contained in them. It is not balanced. Rather, it reads like a one-sided argument in support of the proposal. The information on the effects and impacts are not as certain and solid as made out. For example, just two years ago the second population thought to have decline, the Southern Beaufort Sea population, was thought to have increased from 1,800 to 2,500, up 700 bear, by the same scientists. A lot of the comparisons are to the 1980’s when bear were uncommonly fat and populations were unusually high. The long term average is not the reference which itself suggests an agenda, not the best science. Somebody has to say so.
The Service admits “the scientific data used in this (their) analysis and projections based upon these data are subject to constant change,” but to reduce costs and as an expediency, “we have determined that proceeding with the listing of the polar bear at this time is a responsible use of our fiscal and other resources and is justified given the nature of the scientific data involved and the significant decline in polar bear habitat.” (Page 1,096) Nowhere is there an analysis or consideration of the benefits of tourist sport hunting in the sense of the ESA provisions that range nation’s programs should be considered in the listing process. The Service contradictorily states that, “we do not believe the species is presently in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. Nor do we believe…that threats facing the polar bear present an emergency posing a significant risk to the well-being of the species.”
Believe me, we urgently need contributions for this, else your children and their prodigy will never import the bear again. It is not over by a long shot.

World Conservation Force Bulletin for March 2007

Second Threat to Polar Bear Imports

There is a second threat to polar bear trophy imports into the U.S. that is taking place independently of the “threatened” listing proposal under the ESA. One or more polar bear regions are also being reviewed by the USF&WS due to the Kerry Amendment to the Marine Mammal Protection Act. That is language that Senator John Kerry added to the Marine Mammal Protection Act reform of 1994 at the prompting of HSUS. Now HSUS is insisting on its enforcement.
More than a year ago the Human Society of the United States (HSUS) and its counterpart the International Humane Society (HSI) started making demands on the USF&WS’s International Program “to stop allowing the import of polar bear trophies into the United States,” according to Namoi A. Rose, Ph.D. She is HSUS’s top marine mammal scientist that directs HSUS’s “efforts to police the enforcement and implementation of the 1994 admendments to the MMPA.” “HSI has continued to urge the USF&WS to formally review its approval for import of those stocks affected by the quota increase – we firmly believe the law requires the USF&WS to rescind the import approvals, as the best available science does not support a quota increase, particularly one so substantial,” according to Naomi Rose. The “law” she cites is the Kerry Amendment.
Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of HSUS stated, “Polar bears are in trouble, as a consequence of global warming. The last thing they need is to be chased down and killed in their arctic environment by individuals seeking trophies. While the United States prohibits trophy hunting of polar bears, it does allow American hunters to kill a polar bear in Canada and import the body or pelt back to the United States. The United States needs to close that loophole in the MPMA if it is serious about protecting this vulnerable species.” HSUS reports the USF&WS responded that “[t]he Service is looking carefully at the situation to determine the best and most expeditious course of action to meet our responsibilities.…”
In its published proposal to list the polar bear as threatened, the USF&WS states that it is currently reviewing import of polar bear independently of the ESA listing process. It specifically cites the Western Hudson Bay region but references all trophy importing regions. It also has not acted on Conservation Force’s petition to approve the Gulf of Boothia region which has had a well-documented and significant polar bear population increase. Conservation Force petitioned the USF&WS three years ago to approve those trophy imports, but the threat from HSUS has apparently nullified our requests as it so often does.
The Service’s additional authority for review comes from language added by Senator John Kerry in 1994 when the MMPA was being reformed to permit trophy imports for the first time in more than two decades. First Congressman Jack Fields, his staff and others had the trophy importation reform passed in the House of Representatives. Then Senator John Kerry single-handedly deleted the trophy importation authorization when the bill was before the Senate. In the Conference Committee, ranking senior Senator J. Bennett Johnston from my home state of Louisiana at my request saved the trophy import reform that has permitted import of the trophies. He reinserted the trophy import authority. It was then in conference that Kerry added his amendment authorizing the USF&WS to judgmentally review Canadian polar bear quotas to ensure they are sustainable. In the final passage in the Senate after the bill cleared the Conference Committee, Senator Kerry stated on the Congressional Record several times that he was “personally” opposed to the import of polar bear trophies, had done everything he could to kill the trophy import provision without success, but said be assured because he had added language granting oversight authority to the USF&WS to ensure any hunting was biologically sound. It is that language that has caused approval of import of trophies from many regions to be “deferred” by the USF&WS as I feared when I first viewed the language the morning after the compromise. It is now a new cause of concern for those regions that have already been approved for import and is blocking approval of the Gulf of Boothia region. HSUS got Kerry to add that language and is insisting upon its rigid enforcement today. The Kerry amendment is their hook and the USF&WS International Programs office has its own history.
Though the Kerry amendment added in the Conference Committee gave the USF&WS far more authority and discretion than we or the Canadians would choose, Conservation Force is dealing with this issue and expects to keep most and probably all hunting open in the immediate future. Most populations of polar bear are increasing and all are benefiting from tourist hunting which is the best use of the bear and has contributed to what is the undisputed best polar bear management in the world.

A Hunter’s Guide to Aging Lions in Eastern and Southern Africa

Conservation Force has finally completed its field guide on how to age and judge trophies of African lion. The guide is the culmination of two years of work and includes hundreds of color photographs and contributions from nineteen of the very top African lion specialists in the world. It was a collaborative effort between Conservation Force and Savannas Forever, whom we have worked with from its inception. It is the first, foremost and most authoritative work of its kind. It is of extreme value to every safari hunter and non-hunter alike. Never has there been such a beautifully depicted, informative and useful guide to the king of the beasts. The colorful guide is designed to take into the bush or to be on a coffee table.
Safari Press, a long-time supporter of Conservation Force, has published the field guide. It is available from Safari Press at 15621 Chemical Lane, Huntington Beach, CA 92649, USA (phone: 714-894-9080 fax: 714-894-4949 website: www.safaripress.com – click on “NEW”) for the price of $16.95 plus $5.95 shipping within the U.S. or $8.95 international shipping. The Guide is also available from The Hunting Report at www.huntingreport.com. Royalties from the sale of each guide go to Conservation Force for its continuing African lion projects. Conservation Force leaders serve on both the Cat Specialist Group of IUCN and the African Lion Working Group for the good of all.
The Hunter’s Guide is a guide to making trophy selection. It contains the most scientifically up-to-date data on judging the age of African lion. The foremost scientific experts in Eastern and Southern Africa joined together with Conservation Force to provide the best available information. The objective was to apply science for better or the best hunting practices.
This is part of a larger collaborative effort between Conservation Force and the African lion scientific community. Conservation Force has led the hunting community’s increased efforts to conserve the African lion with dozens of projects and programs across most of Africa, predating the Kenya listing proposal in Bangkok at CITES COP 13. Tourist hunting has a critical role to play in conserving lion beyond the borders of protected areas and protected area lion when they seasonally range out from those areas. Most existing lion habitat and prey are in Africa’s tourist hunting areas. We are focused on these areas beyond the protection of park boundaries. In those areas tourist trophy hunting can maximize the value of lion to both the authorities and local people who will ultimately determine its fate. Moreover, the biological consequences of taking lion can be minimized if the lion are six years of age or older. For example, the cubs of most pride males are generally old enough to survive pride takeover if the pride male has reached six years of age when removed. The strategy of limiting the harvest to older males is in harmony with tourist trophy hunting and it raises the esteem of this important “Big Five” game species. It is believed to be the best management practice at this time.
More trophy lion will be available if young males are spared to grow older. The overall take will be less because fewer lion live to the age of six or more, though that is only an incidental consequence. The whole lion population will be more robust due to the survival of more cubs. It’s time that safari hunters stop settling for anything less than a mature lion. Who has more to lose than the safari hunting world if African lion don’t survive?
The guide aims to increase the conservation value of lion as well as serve as an aid to hunters. The fact of being a game animal can serve a species well. Being a true trophy serves it even better.
Conservation Force is endeavoring to better forge hunting into a force for conservation. We know and promise that all will find the guide useful, we wish fellow hunters luck in their quest to genuinely make the king of beasts a memorable part of their life experiences.
Conservation Force contracted the guide that was authored by Karyl L. Whitman and Craig Packer. It could not have been completed without the guidance of Craig Packer and is a fundamental part of Savannas Forever. It is one more important step in our effort to establish best hunting practices and tweak hunting as a force for conservation. It also demonstrates the hunting world’s good faith to the scientific community as we work together to save beasts at risk because of conflicts with man. The Guide was primarily funded by Conservation Force with help from Dallas Safari Club, the International Council of Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC), the International Professional Hunters Association (IPHA), the Rann-Force Program (Rann Safaris), and the Chancellor International Wildlife Fund that has helped fund so many of our projects and programs. The principle reviewers were myself, Luke Hunter of WCS, George Hartley, Markus Borner, Debbie Peake, Shane Mahoney, David Erickson, Sarel van der Merwe, Philippe Chardonnet, Bertrand des Clers, and Dr. Craig Packer of the Serengeti Lion Project and Savannas Forever. The true list of contributors goes on and on and includes most of the top African lion authorities of today.
Special thanks are also due four prominent advertisers at the back of the book that helped offset the printing and distribution costs of the publication: Sports Afield magazine, Animal Artistry, W.J. Jeffery & Co. Ltd. London, and LEGENDARY ADVENTURES, Inc.

A Jewel from Basie Maartens

Basie Maartens needs no introduction as a professional hunter, founding member of the International Professional Hunters Association and its past president, and a pioneer of the modern safari industry. He has recently published his autobiography entitled The Last Safari which was published by Sycamore Island Books. We’ve lifted an important thought expressed by Basil that has enlightening value to all of us that hunt:

“The ultimate challenge that faces us in our quest for staying alive in the
hunting world is to create a culture of hunting that maintains respect for theanimal and acknowledge the spirituality that takes it to a higher level than a mere trophy on the wall or venison for the table.”

Some hunters state that they hunt for the meat or only hunt what they can eat, when we all know there is much more to hunting than that. Hunters want a trophy and want to bring back memorabilia and symbols from the hunt, but we also all know there is more to the hunt than that as well. A good hunt is a higher level spiritual experience above all else in the world. Like Karen Blixen of Out of Africa said, “Nothing in all the world is like being on safari in Africa….” For more on why we hunt and what it means in human terms see Conservation Force’s website at http://www.conservationforce.org and click on the Why We Hunt link.
Conservation Force’s website is finally back up after the Katrina disaster. Though much of it is still under construction, a viewer will not know that a great deal more is being built off-site to add to it over the next few months. Materials are being added to it daily.

Update on Polar Bear Suits and Listing Proposal

The Center for Biological Diversity has voluntarily dismissed its original suit in federal district court due to the USF&WS completion of stage two of the listing process in late December as agreed. The Center has now filed a new suit. The new suit is under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the National Environmental Policy Act and is a harbinger of what is to come. It is directed at enjoining all oil drilling operations in Alaska that may impact polar bear and walrus in the entire Beaufort Sea.
The suit is Center for Biological Diversity and Pacific Environment v. Dirk Kempthorne and United States Fish and Wildlife Service. It was filed on February 13, 2007 in the same court as the last, the Federal District Court of Northern California. It is a suit for declaratory and injunctive relief against the issuance of incidental take permits issued by the USF&WS to oil companies. In a catch 22 it cites as established fact all of the USF&WS’s own findings in the proposed rule to list polar bear. In summary, it claims that both the polar bear and the Pacific walrus are suffering due to changes to their habitat due to global warming, therefore “incidental take permits required by the MMPA should not be issued.” Long ago, Congress amended the MMPA to authorize the issuance of incidental take permits to industry with various conditions. One such condition is that the Service must explain its rationale in detail if it issues an incidental take permit when it is contrary to the recommendations of the Marine Mammal Commission. The petition alleges that the Service is not following the MMC’s recommendations to the letter.
The incidental takings permits don’t authorize direct takings such as hunting permits do, but permit incidental impact and deaths accidentally caused by exploration, production and transportation activities. It is not nearly as stringent as intentional harvest and importation of trophies of “threatened” listed marine mammals. One can imagine where this is going. It threatens all oil production in the Beaufort Sea including Prudhoe Bay and the North Slope’s twenty-six producing fields, the Northstar facility and even cites the fact that though there is no drilling on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the permits being challenged border the refuge. The suit can be found at http://www.earthjustice.org/library/legal_docs/polar-bear-take-complaint.pdf.

Mozambique Elephant Trophy Import Appeals

Conservation Force has filed the final appeal of the denials of the elephant trophy import permits from Mozambique. It is an appeal of all the permits that have been denied since the country reopened safari hunting of elephant in 2000 in furtherance of its National Strategy for the Management of Elephants in Mozambique.
The International Program office of the USF&WS (made up of the Division of Management Authority and the Division of Scientific Authority) made little or no attempt to defend all of its reasons for denying the import permit applications in their response to Conservation Force’s Request for Reconsideration of the original denials. The issues appear to have been narrowed by the reconsideration process. The Division of Management Authority is now stating that it can’t make a non-detriment finding under CITES and the Division of Scientific Authority is stating it can’t make the “enhancement” finding under the Endangered Species Act because, they both state, Mozambique’s National Strategy for the Management of Elephants in Mozambique is not a “national management plan”. The divisions state that the existing national strategy is but a step in the process, not a more detailed plan. It has taken the USF&WS more than six years to make this reason known to the applicants, much less to the authorities in Mozambique. Such a national plan bears little or no relationship to the local communal-based tourist elephant hunting management programs that are more advanced and intensive than such a national plan. The elephant safari hunting is years ahead of any such broad national plan. The denials are the epitome of bureaucracy and facially illegal because the reason is too unrelated to the hunting projects in issue and has no basis in law or regulation. No such arbitrary requirement has been published, much less been adopted after being published for public comment and noticed in the Federal Register as required by the Administrative Procedures Act and the Endangered Species Act. Unfortunately, the arbitrary requirement that Mozambique have a more detailed national plan for its elephants (such plans normally focus on fully protected park lands/parks) will apply to the Niassa Reserve area permits. Those permits are not yet denied and are still pending because that area has only recently been opened. On the other hand, if this new requirement for a specific kind of national plan withstands our administrative and expected judicial appeals, our efforts are at least ferreting out what more needs to be done to establish the imports. Now we can focus on that target too.
The appeal and list of 70 exhibits can be viewed on Conservation Force’s website at http://www.conservationforce.org.