Monthly Archives: November 2017

Trump Postpones Decision on Allowing Import of Elephant Parts

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/nov/17/trump-elephant-parts-import-zimbabwe

Friday 17 November 2017 21.36 EST

Amid backlash over move to end ban, president says he will delay administration action ‘until such time as I review all conservation facts’

GuardianElephant

Donald Trump said that he would delay his administration’s decision to allow the importing of elephant body parts from Zimbabwe “until such time as I review all conservation facts” in a tweet Friday evening.
The postponement came just one day after the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) indicated that it would reverse an Obama administration ban on importing elephant hunting trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia.

The agency said Thursday that the decision “will help protect wild elephants for future generations” because the money generated by US big-game hunters seeking trophies helps fund conservation efforts in many African countries.
Many conservationists opposed the decision, however, arguing that the Trump administration was pandering to big-game hunters.

“I’m shocked and horrified, but this is the road this administration is taking,” the primatologist Jane Goodall told the Guardian on Friday, before Trump’s announcement of the postponement. “One by one, they are undoing every protection for the environment that was put in place by their predecessors.
“It’s very rare that money raised by legal trade in ivory or rhino husks gets out to protect the animals,” Goodall added. “It goes into the pockets of the safari outfits that take the clients, or goes into the hands of corrupt government officials.”
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Goodall cited Trump’s stance on drilling for oil in the Arctic national wildlife refuge and on the listing of endangered species as other areas of concern in his administration’s environmental record.
“President Trump and I have talked and both believe that conservation and healthy herds are critical,” Ryan Zinke, the secretary of the interior, said in a statement Friday evening. “As a result, in a manner compliant with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations, the issuing of permits is being put on hold as the decision is being reviewed.”
Elephant populations in Africa have declined precipitously over the past 15 years, despite crackdowns on poaching and the ivory trade.
The Obama administration implemented the ban on importing elephant trophies from Zimbabwe in 2014 due to a lack of information about the status of the country’s population and conservation program. African elephants are protected under the US Endangered Species Act.
On Thursday, FWS said its decision to lift the ban was based on “more than two years of extensive assessments”.
But the agency raised concerns about its motivation by announcing the policy change at the African Wildlife Consultative Forum in Tanzania – an event co-hosted by the hunting rights group Safari Club International (SCI). SCI had joined the National Rifle Association in a court challenge to the 2014 ban. Both groups praised the FWS reversal on Thursday.
Trump’s two adult sons, Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump, are both big-game hunters. Donald Trump Jr has been photographed with the corpse of a elephant, holding its severed tail in his hand.
Ed Royce of California, the Republican chairman of the House committee on foreign affairs, on Friday criticized the decision to lift the ban, calling it the “wrong move at the wrong time”.
Zimbabwe is in the midst of considerable political upheaval, after the army seized power from 93-year-old Robert Mugabe this week. Mugabe has ruled the country for 37 years.
The Associated Press and Edward Helmore contributed reporting.

Bryce Casavant: Aiming for Change & Grizzly Bear Management & Conservation Officer Service

http://www.brycecasavant.ca/2017/11/01/aiming-change-update-regarding-grizzly-bear-management-bc/

The deadline for the public consultation process on the Grizzly Bear hunt is tomorrow (November 2nd 2017). During the month long window for public comments the Auditor General (AG) released ( see in Bears Matter Blog postings) their audit report pertaining to BC’s management of Grizzly Bears. This blog and the PDF link below,- http://www.brycecasavant.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/In-Defence-of-a-Fallen-King-formal-submission.-1.pdf are my submissions to the MFLNRORD public consultation process regarding Grizzly Bear management.

The PDF file referenced below is an updated version of my previous work In Defence of a Fallen King which was written as a submission to the AG during her investigation. The update includes my thoughts on two points raised within the AG report, and maintains my critique of BC’s so called “scientific review” under the previous government administration.

The two points that I will focus on are, 1) the independence of internal reviews conducted by consultants, and 2) the Conservation Officer Service and its relationship to species conservation. Within this update I reference my recently released essay To Conserve and Protect and provide a preliminary look at a soon to be released technical report pertaining to public confidence levels and wildlife law enforcement in BC. Some main take away points from this update are:

I recommend that a special conflict of interest or ethics guideline/policy be developed for public servants engaged with work on the grizzly bear file or in the development of formal BC policy on this issue.
I maintain that providing additional funding and officers into the current COS model is not advisable due to internal cultural issues and processes which I addressed in my recent essay To Conserve and Protect.
I argue that the model of the COS needs to change before overall public confidence can be increased and maintained.
I contend that it is not realistic to think that an officer who is a licensed hunter, and in some cases a trophy hunter himself/herself, can avoid a reasonable apprehension of bias when deciding to kill a grizzly bear.
In reference to the BCCOS involved in funding allocation to WildSafe BC – I posit that from a law enforcement and integrity perspective, it is problematic to have armed officers that are licensed hunters, in some cases trophy hunters, who are also members of the BCWF and overseeing/making recommendations for government funding to BCWF wildlife programs and their affiliates. This, in my view, is a conflict of interest for law enforcement. For this reason, I would recommend an independent panel be responsible for directing, monitoring, and assessing/evaluating the programs that the government funds. The COS should not be responsible or involved.
In the final portion of my update I state that my soon to be released report, Law Gone Wild, will show that 1 in 5 British Columbians will have an interaction with either the COS or RCMP over a wildlife concern, some of these interactions will be grizzly bears. I will argue that the fact 20% of the BC population is involved in calling enforcement agencies for wildlife issues means that public trust in 20% of the BC population can be influenced by a single officer’s actions, at a single moment in time, and when handling a single animal. All managers and politicians should take this fact very seriously. The public’s confidence in the agency and officer’s responding is paramount to the maintenance of overall public trust.
As always, I’m only an email away. Bryce@BryceCasavant.ca

Contact: Bryce J. Casavant, CMAS, MA

The views and opinions expressed in this publication are my own and do not reflect the views of the BC Public Service or its ministries.

Bryce Casavant is a Senior Compliance and Enforcement Specialist with the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development. He is a former BC Conservation Officer and Special Provincial Constable. Bryce is a decorated military veteran and Doctoral Candidate at Royal Roads University’s Doctor of Social Sciences Program. His research focus is on public trust and wildlife policing in BC. Bryce was a candidate for the New Democratic Party in the 2017 BC Provincial Elections.

References: PDF In Defence of a Fallen King updated 2017