Over the past decade, I have had the privilege of serving on SCI Foundation’s Conservation Committee and recently succeeded my friend, Al Maki, as the new Chair after years of Al’s dedicated service.
I have been a member of SCI for 15 years. I joined back then and continue my membership today because I see SCI as a unique organization that can both lead in wildlife conservation and in our freedom to hunt.
The Conservation Committee and its staff are responsible for implementing SCI and SCIF’s shared mission of wildlife conservation, including most importantly reviewing large grant wildlife research and management proposals and allocating funds for on-the-ground science-based research and management projects.
We recently convened a meeting in the Washington, DC office with leadership from both organizations to examine our relationship, better align SCIF’s conservation program with SCI’s needs, and narrow our focus to the top priority conservation strategies shared by SCI and SCIF.
SCIF has many strengths in wildlife conservation over other hunting groups now in the arena with SCI. The scope and scale of our work is wide-reaching, funding research on big game species around the world from my home state of Michigan, to Namibia and Pakistan. Our biologists on staff organize the annual African Wildlife Consultative Forum (AWCF) with governments from across Sub-Saharan Africa, providing a communications and science based venue for management of African wildlife. As a member of IUCN we provide scientific credibility, representing SCI’s advocacy work at CITES.
All of this activity is made possible through your SCIF staff and volunteer Conservation Committee. Our program areas are now becoming razor sharp focused to have even more impact. Some of our future strategies will include research on African leopards to address regulatory threats to importation, mule deer population declines in western North America, and research to control chronic wasting disease.
Science based conservation separates SCI and SCIF from the growing number of clubs and alliances in our community. Today, we remain a true leader in the international arena. Now more than ever during this time of transition in the Conservation Committee, SCI, and society, we must recognize the critical importance of science based wildlife management. We invest in projects that will ensure wildlife population sustainability. I’m confident that the sport we love, hunting, will continue to exist for our children and grandchildren if we prove that we can sustain wildlife populations. We can proudly prove that hunting supports sustainability, and that society benefits from our passion.
First For Wildlife,
Chair, Conservation Committee