WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced the creation of the International Wildlife Conservation Council. The Council will provide advice and recommendations to the Secretary of the Interior. It will focus on increased public awareness domestically regarding conservation, wildlife law enforcement, and economic benefits that result from U.S. citizens traveling abroad to hunt.
“Built on the backs of hunters and anglers, the American conservation model proves to be the example for all nations to follow for wildlife and habitat conservation,” Secretary Zinke said. “The conservation and long-term health of big game crosses international boundaries. This council will provide important insight into the ways that American sportsmen and women benefit international conservation from boosting economies and creating hundreds of jobs to enhancing wildlife conservation.”
The Council will advise the Secretary of the Interior on the benefits that international recreational hunting has on foreign wildlife and habitat conservation, anti-poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking programs, and other ways in which international hunting benefits human populations in these areas.
The duties of the Council will be solely advisory and will include, but not be limited to:
· Develop a plan for public engagement and education on the benefits of international hunting.
· Review and make recommendations for changes, when needed, on all Federal programs, and/or regulations, to ensure support of hunting as:
◦ An enhancement to foreign wildlife conservation and survival;
◦ An effective tool to combat illegal trafficking and poaching;
◦ An economic engine and job-creating force for local communities.
· Develop strategies to benefit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s permit office in receiving timely country data and information so as to remove barriers that impact consulting with range states.
· Recommend removal of barriers to the importation into the United States of legally hunted wildlife.
· Ongoing review of import suspension/bans and provide recommendations that seek to resume the legal trade of those items, where appropriate.
· Review seizure and forfeiture actions/practices and provide recommendations to regulations that will lead to a reduction of unwarranted actions.
· Review the Endangered Species Act’s foreign listed species and interaction with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna, with the goal of eliminating regulatory duplications.
· Recommend streamlining/expedite process of import permits.
You may submit comments and/or nominations by any of the following methods:
· Mail or hand-carry nominations to Joshua Winchell, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Wildlife Refuge System, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803; or Email nominations to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Council will meet approximately two times annually, and at such other times as designated by the Designated Federal Officer. The Council will terminate 2 years from the date the Charter is filed, unless, prior to that date, it is renewed in accordance with the provisions of Section 14 of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA).
The Council will not meet or take any action without a valid current charter. The Council is established in furtherance of 43 U.S.C. 1457, the Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956 (16 U.S.C. §§ 742a-742j), and other Acts applicable to specific bureaus. This Council is regulated by the FACA, as amended, 5 U.S.C. Appendix 2.