One Of Our Least Favorite Members Of The U.S. Government, Secretary Zinke, Expands Hunting & Fishing at 30 National Wildlife Refuges in The United States
Sadly, one of our least favorite members of the U.S. government, Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, will open more than 251,000 acres of land to new or expanded hunting and fishing at 30 national wildlife refuges across the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wildlife Refuge System. This will shockingly bring the number of units where the public can hunt to 377, and the number for fishing to 312.
This will open more acres to the hunting and fishing of many threatened species, many of which are on the brink of extinction in the United States. These species need to be able to recover before they could be wiped out, not only by hunting, but by illegal poaching as well.
Zinke’s final rule outlines expanded hunting and fishing at 136 national wildlife refuges. The changes will be implemented in the 2018-2019 hunting seasons. This is an urgent matter that all U.S. citizens should be able to voice their opinions about.
A shocking quote comes from Cynthia Martinez, Chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System: “Hunting and fishing are family activities that pass down from generation to generation. National wildlife refuges provide all Americans with places to hunt, fish, observe the natural world firsthand, and experience the great outdoors.” Really?
“Hunting and fishing are not family activities and should not be taught to children of any age. The last thing that this world needs is to teach children that killing and violence is acceptable. What we really need to be teaching our children is to have more compassion to save our planet and it’s species for future generations to come,” stated Katie Cleary, President of Peace 4 Animals & WAN.
Secretary Zinke, an avid hunter, said in a statement: “The last thing I want to see is hunting to become an elite sport, rather than a tradition passed on from generation to generation. Today’s announcement protects critical ‘CON-servation’ funding, and ensures sportsmen have access to public lands for generations to come.”
“This couldn’t be more false. Hunting is not a tradition and we are not living in the stone age. We are a progressive world that needs forward-thinking leaders who care about the welfare of the species of who it is our job to protect as the stewards of this planet,” continued Cleary.
The amount of funding brought in from eco-tourism and photo safari’s worldwide is much greater than that of what hunting brings in per year. A 2017 report, commissioned by Humane Society International and conducted by Economists at Large, found that the total economic contribution of hunters is at most an estimated 0.03 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). In Botswana, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, hunting brings in just 0.78 percent or less of the overall tourism spending and has only a marginal impact on employment in those countries, providing approximately 0.76 percent or less of overall tourism jobs. It is estimated that roughly 105.3 million U.S. travelers prioritize vacations dedicated to giving back to our environment, planet, and animals, than not.
Findings from the report include:
While overall tourism in the eight study countries is between 2.8 percent and 5.1 percent of GDP, the total economic contribution of trophy hunters is, at most, an estimated 0.03 percent of GDP. As the report’s author explains: “In terms of the wider tourism economy, which relies heavily on wildlife resources, trophy hunting is relatively insignificant.”
Trophy hunting brings in less than $132 million in tourism spending to the eight study countries out of $17 billion annual tourism spending, or just 0.78 percent. Safari Club International (SCI) wrongly alleged that trophy hunting-related tourism contributes $426 million annually.
Trophy hunting has only a marginal impact on employment in the eight countries, estimated between 7,500-15,500 jobs. Even when using inflated SCI estimates of direct employment contribution from trophy hunting (19,733 jobs), this is still only 0.76 percent of 2,589,000 average jobs generated by overall tourism.
Non-hunting tourism industry is growing much faster and has a much brighter future in Africa. Between 2000 and 2014, overall tourism spending in the eight study countries grew every four months by as much as the annual claimed direct value of the entire trophy hunting industry ($326 million).
Foreign trophy hunters make up less than 0.1 percent of tourists in the studied region.
Non-trophy hunting tourism employs 132 times more people than trophy hunting.
The average increase in tourist arrivals over 54 days in Namibia and 60 days in South Africa exceeded the total of annual foreign trophy hunter arrivals. The growth over a year in general tourist numbers is about six times larger than a year’s worth of hunting tourists.
Because trophy hunting is a tiny part of overall tourism sector, with little scope for sustained future growth, even a small effect of trophy hunting deterring growth in other tourism uses (like eco-tourism) may overwhelm its own economic benefits.
As well as being cruel, trophy hunting is detrimental to conservation because:
Hunters kill the strongest animals that are critical to strengthening the gene pool.
Hunting quotas are frequently set without a solid scientific basis.
Age restrictions for hunted animals are ignored so that, for example, lions are killed as juveniles before they can contribute to the genetic pool.
Corruption prevents trophy hunting funds from making it to conservation.
U.S.-based SCI is one of world’s largest pro-trophy hunting organizations with 50,000 members. It keeps a record book of kills and offers awards in dozens of categories, such as Bears of the World, South American Indigenous Animals, and the World Hunter of the Year for which a hunter must kill more than 300 animals across the globe.
SCI’s 2017 convention featured more than 900 international hunting outfitters and auctioned off almost 1,000 mammals in global hunts valued at over US$5.3 million. In 2015, this convention brought in nearly US$14.4 million. Some of the most shocking SCI 2017 auction items offered up were a Canadian polar bear hunt (valued at USD $72,000) and two Namibian elephants hunts (valued at USD $25,000 and USD $35,000).
Sadly, per Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, hunting and/or fishing will expand or be opened on the following refuges:
Illinois and Missouri
Illinois and Wisconsin
Maine and New Hampshire
New Jersey and New York
Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge: Opens hunting of certain gamebirds, small mammals, and furbearers for the first time, and expands existing migratory game bird and big game hunting.
Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge: Opens hunting of certain gamebirds, small mammals, and furbearers for the first time, and expands existing migratory game bird and big game hunting.
Please contact The U.S. Department of the Interior and tell them why you oppose opening up more National Wildlife Refuges to hunting and fishing.
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240
Contact Form HERE!
Phone (with employee directory): (202) 208-3100
National Parks Service
Office of Communications
1849 C St NW
Washington DC 20240
Contact Form HERE!
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Office of Public Affairs
Office: (703) 358-2220
Fax: (703) 358-1930
5275 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA