Former USFWS Special Agent Sam Jojola calls out Utah’s Rep. Rob Bishop and Zinke’s fake “International Wildlife Conservation Council”

Killer of Cecil the Lion, Minneapolis dentist & big game hunter, Walter Palmer (left) (photo: dailystar.co.uk)

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by Sam Jojola, Retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Special Agent

The more things change, the more they stay the same

On November 8, 2017, Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, announced the creation of the International Wildlife Conservation Council.  The devil is in the details and what will follow in days, weeks and months to come will shape this Council and their priorities. Since the Council involves aspects of conservation, hunting and law enforcement, I wonder if Council heads will be selected from recognized leading experts in those three areas of focus.  I am particularly concerned how the Council will deal with the Endangered Species Act (ESA) foreign listed species and import permits that are mentioned in this press release: https://www.doi.gov/pressreleases/secretary-zinke-announces-creation-international-wildlife-conservation-council

I believe the creation of this Council comes at a very bad time given the recent news of Zimbabwe’s regime shakeup and the most recent proposal for the U.S. to lift the ban on elephant trophy imports from Zambia and Zimbabwe.  I hope now that President Trump has moved to keep the ban in place, that he and Secretary Zinke will consider keeping the ban given the current developing instability of Zimbabwe over the past several days: https://sg.news.yahoo.com/trump-puts-decision-allow-elephant-hunting-trophy-imports-hold-022152590.html

Five illegal Leopard trophies entering U.S. in 2008 detail Zimbabwe’s corruption

In 2008, sources from outside the U.S. contacted me and provided specific details about a shipment of leopard trophies entering the U.S. with fraudulent CITES permits from Zimbabwe.  I passed on my initial investigation to USFWS Special Agents in Colorado who seized the leopard trophies and completed the investigation after trophy hunters and a foreign guide were prosecuted: https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/south-dakota-man-sentenced-smuggling-big-game-leopard-hide-united-states

There are a number of articles on the Internet that detail how widespread illegal hunting has been in Zimbabwe over the years. There are disturbing estimates of large numbers of rhinos that have been killed for years in Zimbabwe.

Google “illegal trophy hunting in Zimbabwe”

Readers will be shocked at the details of pages with disturbing accounts, estimates and reports that reflect the widespread killing of staggering numbers of elephants and rhinos over the years.

Knowing history to avoid repeating the same mistakes

To really grasp what is happening now with wildlife resources across the globe and how they are managed (and mismanaged, due to poor regulations, corruption, greed, etc.), it is very important to examine bad decisions of the past to insure these decisions are not repeated now and in the future.  One of the key documents everyone should read is from an October, 1996 posting on the website from the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) that consists of 29 pages, titled “Tarnished Trophies.”

Read page 9 of this report that is titled “Fish and Wildlife Safari Service.”  This “white paper” documents corruption of a high level department of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at that time with respect to promoting trophy hunting of threatened and endangered species: https://www.peer.org/assets/docs/whitepapers/1996_tarnished_trophies.pdf

As one of my colleagues who is a renowned former wildlife research biologist put it simply, “humanity’s DNA is seriously flawed” and we as a species can many times make the wrong decisions, particularly when managing wildlife resources now and in the future for generations.

My comments on the creation of an International Wildlife Conservation Council

On November 15, 2017, I submitted my comments to the USFWS via e-mail regarding the proposed creation of an International Wildlife Conservation Council:

  1. The proposal is a monumental waste of money due to Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) who has helped push five (5) bills from the Natural Resources Committee that would conceivably dismantle the Endangered Species Act over a period of time. The ESA plays a major part of wildlife conservation. It would make more sense to form a council to fight these destructive proposals that would destroy the ESA or have the Secretary of Interior request Rep. Rob Bishop to resign. If Rep. Rob Bishop has his way to “invalidate” the ESA, imagine trying to protect wildlife and regulate hunting. Dismantling the ESA in any form or fashion is destroying large fragile ecosystems at the expense of wildlife resources for future generations.
  2. The International Wildlife Conservation Council should actually be renamed to accurately portray the proposed actions. It should be re-named “The International Wildlife Conservation, Hunting and Law Enforcement Council” which is more appropriate.
  3. One of the “duties of the Council” will be to “Recommend removal of barriers to the importation of the United States of legally hunted wildlife”. The recent lifting of the ban this month to allow trophy hunters who legally killed elephants in Zimbabwe and Zambia between 2016 and 2017 can now import those trophy elephants into the U.S. U.S. trophy hunters who legally hunt elephants in those countries in 2018 can apply for a USFWS permit and import their trophies here. This proves the implementation of this Council is without merit and unnecessary and barriers are obviously already removed without the Council in place.
  4. A Council formed to help African nations re-write wildlife laws in their respective countries would be a better proposal. Zimbabwe is a notoriously corrupt nation reportedly losing upwards of 1 billion dollars annually to corruption. Why should the U.S. allow U.S. trophy hunters to kill any wildlife in that country and allow their importation here? We are rewarding a corrupt regime. The U.S. should instead provide legal expertise and offer to help Zimbabwe and other countries re-write their wildlife laws that seal loopholes that contributed to the Cecil the Lion incident.
  5. There are already plenty of loopholes in the ESA across the board. Why constrict Special Agents and Wildlife Inspectors from doing their job to enforce regulations with additional bureaucracy?

Task Force concept needed to address transnational wildlife criminal syndicates

The U.S. should instead focus on addressing the exponential growth of the global illegal wildlife trade by improving U.S. law enforcement strategies through the formation of a task force comprised of USFWS, the FBI, IRS, ICE, DSS (State Department), the CIA, NSA, and a U.S. Special Operations group to fully address the transnational wildlife criminal syndicates that are dismantling ecosystems across the planet.

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In 2008, Walter Palmer pleaded guilty to making false statement to the Fish and Wildlife Service about a black bear he shot outside authorized hunting zones in Wisconsin.  He tried to have release of the incriminating photograph stopped.

House Committee Chairman Attacks Reporter for Doing His Job

By Greg Zimmerman as published on Medium’s Westwise

Rep. Rob Bishop goes after Washington Post’s accurate account of Bishop’s legislative agenda

Utah Congressman Rob Bishop, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, has made no secrets about his disdain for America’s foundational conservation laws.

On the Endangered Species Act: “I would be happy to invalidate [it].”

On the Antiquities Act: “It is the most evil act ever invented.”

On the Land and Water Conservation Fund: it is a “slush fund” and we should instead “plow some money back into [the oil and gas industry] to make sure that it’s there.”

(See the bottom of this post for for a summary of each law and its importance to American conservation.)

Even though these positions are extremely unpopular with voters across the West and the American public, Congressman Bishop has built his political career proudly working to undermine national public lands and weakening or invalidating a slew of environmental laws.

That’s why it was so bizarre when the House Natural Resources Committee personally attacked a Washington Post reporter for simply writing a story about Rep. Bishop’s agenda. Darryl Fears, a reporter with more than three decades in the news business, published a piece about the congressman’s work on the Endangered Species Act. The article is summarized by the story’s headline:

Fears is reporting on the five pieces of legislation (HR 717, HR 3131, HR 1274, HR 2603, HR 424) that Rep. Bishop has moved through his committee to accomplish the stated goal of defanging and, ultimately, “invalidating” the Endangered Species Act.

Rather than owning his agenda, Rep. Bishop and his staff at the House Natural Resources Committee decided to attack Fears and his reporting. In its weekly email blast — The Source — the committee doesn’t dispute the accuracy of Fears’ story, but nonetheless accuses him of “fervently [swallowing] the tired shticks of the radical Left.”…(CONTINUED)

View story at Medium.com

U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah “jokes” at the Slaughter Summit, “The French think every horse should be Sea-Brisket”

Utah’s Rep. Rob Bishop (photo: BYU)

What did Utah’s Congressman Rob Bishop, who chairs the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee, say at the recent secretive “Slaughter Summit” in Salt Lake City, Utah?  (That he likely wouldn’t say publicly.)

“U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah took the stage holding a children’s toy stick horse and cracked a joke about riding a horse to work as Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has done in the streets of Washington.

Bishop, who chairs the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee, said that despite his holding a toy, the summit was addressing a serious issue that many across the country and in Congress don’t understand because they’ve been swayed by activists “who care more about fundraising opportunities than the animals.”

“There are members of Congress who truly believe that every horse is Seabiscuit.  Of course, the French think every horse should be Sea-Brisket,” he joked.  (Source:  Las Vegas Sun)

Hey, Rob what about all the money that Dave Duquette gets paid by Protect the Harvest to pimp for horse slaughter?  Duquette is really the one who “cares more about fundraising opportunities than the animals.”  Duquette, as you can see on his facebook page, is even building himself a big ol’ house outside Hermiston, Oregon.

This “Slaughter Summit” consisted not only of Rep. Rob Bishop’s bad “joke” and false “facts,” but also of secretive, closed-door meetings between special interest groups and the government employees pandering to them.  But, what happened in Utah will not stay in Utah.