SCIF’s Primary Mission: Promoting Wildlife Conservation Worldwide
As a passionate conservationist who believes in ecosystem management and the principles of sustainable use, you may understand as clearly as I do that hunting is not just our heritage. It is not just a pathway to connect with the land and the natural resources surrounding us. And hunting is not just a sport or recreation … it is part of our identity. In today‘s world, at a time when wildlife are competing for resources with an ever-increasing global population of humans, the success and failure of some wildlife populations are reliant on human action. It is within this world that humans have learned to conserve wildlife, and with politics aside, that hunting is the most simplistic, practical, and cost-effective management tool for wildlife conservation.
We hunter-conservationists understand the role that humans play in disrupting the harmony of the natural world. The consequences of having overabundant white-tailed deer in local temperate forests in the United States parallel the problems that lead to tragic lion attacks on villagers and livestock in the grasslands of Botswana. We strive to preserve game and non-game species and wet and dry habitats as part of our responsibility to the land that we have come from, in concert with conditions accepted on a local and global scale.
As members of a worldwide conservation organization, we are more than passive observers of the natural world. We gain an intimate awareness and appreciation of the natural settings as we hunt. We also work very hard to help preserve the worldwide hunting heritage, which plays such an important role to the use of science and knowledge toward effective conservation efforts and wise practices of sustainable use of our wildlife resources.
The goal of the following chapter is to highlight the variety of conservation projects performed by SCI and the SCI Foundation, including our global network of nearly 200 SCI chapters and more than 45,000 members. Collectively, we are giving power and financial support to local game officials and governments as well as financing education, conservation and humanitarian efforts worldwide. Together we have helped reestablish wood bison in Alaska, provided water guzzlers for desert bighorn sheep in California, and underwritten population studies of black bear and moose in Maine, among thousands of other projects. From building houses for bluebirds in New York State to saving jaguars in the Yucatán, Safari Club International has shown that no creature is too small or too remote for our attention. We applaud the accomplishments of our fellow conservationists and project partners, as collaboration only enhances results.
In closing, I quote the West African environmentalist, Baba Dioum of Senegal, who said, ―In the end we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.‖ Teaching is critical to SCI‘s conservation mission, and the world looks to us to show the way to effective worldwide conservation. I hope that these examples of our accomplishments illustrate how hunters are, at their core, conservationists, who possess a legacy that we must pass on to those who follow. I am proud to be everything a hunter is and does.