THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE, FOREIGN OPERATIONS, AND RELATED PROGRAMS APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2008 (CONSOLIDATED APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2008) -- (House of Representatives - December 19, 2007)
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Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Committee on Appropriations for addressing language contained in the House State, Foreign Operations Committee Report regarding funding of recreational, sport
and trophy hunting in its assistance programs in Africa. The language included in the Manager's Statement accompanying the Omnibus Appropriations Legislation offers USAID the opportunity to come before the Committee and explain the need for these important conservation programs to continue. I support this effort and commend the Committee on this language.
I urge USAID to take advantage of this opportunity to come before the Committee and explain the benefits of these valuable projects as directed by the Manager's Statement. Conservation projects have made great contributions to wildlife management and have a great story to tell. The CAMPFIRE and the LIFE Plus Projects in Africa are just two examples of successful conservation programs involving controlled, regulated sport and trophy hunting that economically supports tribal systems in many areas of Africa. Without programs like these, millions of acres of properly managed conservation areas would fall prey to poachers, eliminating the economic value these lands provide.
Additionally, tourist hunting has proven to be a valuable tool for conserving wildlife and habitat for particularly threatened species such as the African elephant, white and black rhino, leopard, markhor, argali and others. Licensed, regulated tourist hunting provides tens of millions of dollars for the operating budgets of foreign wildlife departments, significantly reduces poaching, and creates incentives for local inhabitants to perpetuate biodiversity on hundreds of millions of acres where it is needed beyond the borders of protected areas. Without these programs, animals in this environment would be killed for food, over-hunted, and poached, placing the continued survival of these species in serious jeopardy.
The facts are that in the twenty-three African countries that allow licensed, regulated hunting, approximately 18,500 hunters generate over $200 million annually in remote rural areas. These conservation programs are extremely important to African tribal culture, not to mention the survival of the many animal species they protect worldwide. While I cannot support the overall bill, I thank the Appropriations Committee for recognizing this flaw in the Committee Report on H.R. 2764 and speaking to it appropriately in the Omnibus Legislation's accompanying Manager's Statement.
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