Some good news dribbled out of Washington this week when the Department of Interior noted in a court filing that it would not be renewing the charter for the International Wildlife Conservation Council – a council dedicated to the exact opposite of its name. Instead of conservation, the council was tasked with removing barriers to the importation of trophy-hunted animals, reversing suspensions on bans on trade of wildlife and promoting hunting.
The council was the brainchild of former DOI Secretary Ryan Zinke. Despite more than 16,000 comments filed against its formation, DOI went ahead and stacked the commission with pro-hunting advocates, even though the 1972 Federal Advisory Committee Act requires all federally appointed advisory panels be comprised of a balanced and objective array of members. Zinke, who resigned in December 2018 amid a conflict of interest probe, received $10,000 from Safari Club International, a hunting organization, for his 2016 Congressional campaign.
Friends of Animals filed comments in March 2018 with the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife Service against the council.
The IWCC’s mission to fling open the doors to hunting in the name of conservation is inconsistent with the Endangered Species Act, the language of which strongly suggests that Congress does not believe that hunting is a legitimate means of protecting species, FoA noted.
The news of the commission’s demise came in a court filing in a case against its inception brought by environmental and animal rights groups.
Cheers to the end of the IWCC. As FoA President Priscilla Feral said when it was first established:
“Trophy hunters like to pride themselves on the notion that they are ‘conservationists’ and that the money they spend on these expensive hunting trips to Africa will help protect the animals they kill. In truth, legal sport-hunting actually reduces the overall chance that these species can continue to survive in the wild.”