Trump’s International Wildlife Conservation Council Stacked In Favor Of Hunters

Nov 18, 2012 – Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe – Cecil the iconic lion at Hwange National Park. In July 2015 American dentist and Safari Club International member Walter Palmer killed Cecil the lion with a bow and arrow during an illegal hunt in Zimbabwe. Palmer, 55, from Minnesota, allegedly paid park guides 50,000 to hunt and kill Cecil at the Hwange National Park. (Credit Image: � Paula French/ZUMA Wire/


When Ryan Zinke was appointed Secretary of the Interior, he was tasked with forming a group to recommend conservation policy for the administration.

So Trump now has his International Wildlife Conservation Council. When we look at the conservation-minded, nature-loving worthies selected, they make as  much sense as forming a diversity council and turning it over to members of the KKK.

But the selections makes sense when we discover the group’s goals:  “to tout the role of hunters in conservation and increase  public awareness of the economic benefits that result from U.S. citizens’ traveling abroad to hunt.” The council also seeks to remove barriers to trophy imports and to expedite import permits.

One notable member is Olivia Opre, a former Miss America contestant who received the  Diana award, given to the Safari Club International’s top female hunters. So far she has killed members of 90 different species on 6 continents. Many of the 150 bodies (I refuse to use the word “carcasses”) she has brought back are mounted in her house. She also judges the Extreme Huntress television show.

Another member is Jenifer Chatfield, a wildlife and zoo veterinarian and professor. She is the only one with scientific training. She is also the staff veterinarian for the 4J Conservation Center in Florida. Unfortunately, that is a for-profit facility owned by her father, who has been accused of trafficking in exotic animals and of sending them to private hunting ranches.

Member Greg Sheehan is also current director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He is a member of the Safari Club International (SCI) and attended the convention last year, in which the “professional hunter of the year” award was bestowed on a South African man who has been fined for leading hunts of black rhinos.

Peter Horn is vice president of Beretta, the firearm manufacturer, and an ex-vice president of SCI.  He is also co-owner of a private hunting preserve (with partners Eric and Donald Trump, Jr.).

Steven Hanes is a TV hunting show host, a bow hunter, and a friend of Donald, Jr., who asserts that “killing elephants give them value” (gives value to whom, the hunters or the elephants?).

Other members include Ivan Carter, a professional safari hunting guide, Diana Welker, who has participated in one of Carter’s hunts and killed an elephant  is Botswana, and Erica Rhoad, a director of hunting at the NRA. Paul Babaz,, the president of the Safari Club International, is also a member.

Former congressman Bill Brewster was elected chairman of the council. He left Congress in 1997 and worked as a board member and lobbyist of the NRA, this according to the NRA publication American Hunter.

This council represents the worst form of cronyism and collaboration between government and business interests. The council contains only one scientist (the veterinarian of dubious family connections). The rest are members of the wealthy interest groups this administration panders to. Missing are the conservationists with credentials in wildlife biology, ecology, ecosystems and program management, etc., as well as wildlife law enforcement, all needed in authentic conservation work. In other words,  the International Wildlife Conservation Council has excluded the scientists and specialists who have no financial stakes in trophy hunting.

Not surprisingly, wildlife conservation in this administration has been “trumped” by greed and cronyism.



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5 thoughts on “Trump’s International Wildlife Conservation Council Stacked In Favor Of Hunters

    • Doesn’t say anything good. Trump may be flip-flopping over the TPP too. With his trophy-hunting sons and a Congress full of conservatives, we couldn’t expect anything good for wildlife.


    • The alternatives were bad too. The Greens didn’t have a chance. For many, Hillary wasn’t an option. I just threw my vote away for Stein.

      The animals haven’t done well under any party, considering they’re all run by humans.


      • Yes, the Stein vote was like a replay of the 2000 presidential election. People who voted for Ralph Nader in Florida that year handed the election to George Bush. Does anybody think that the world would be worse off now than it is had there been a President Gore? That’s the Al Gore who wanted to make climate change a major policy focus. Like Donald Rumsfeld said, “you go to war with the army you’ve got.” And you select a presidential candidate to support from a coterie of flawed politicians, some of whom are, however, clearly less contemptible than others. Live and learn.


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