PERC Research Fellow Proposes Solution to Conserve International Wildlife

Catherine Semcer testifies before Congress on the role of international hunting in conserving African wildlife.

News for Immediate Release
July 18, 2019
Contact: Hannah Downey, 406-587-9591, hannah@perc.org

(Washington, D.C.)—Catherine Semcer, a research fellow with PERC, testified on Capitol Hill today on H.R. 2245, the CECIL Act.

Semcer appeared before the House Natural Resources Committee – Water, Oceans, and Wildlife Subcommittee to oppose the bill and highlight the role that responsible international hunting plays in funding imperiled wildlife conservation in Africa. 

“Hunting and photo-tourism allow African nations to manage wildlife and habitat on a landscape scale, and in a way that improves rural economies and the standard of living of some of the world’s poorest people,” Semcer stated.

Semcer explained how aspects of the CECIL Act would lead to the reduction of provided wildlife habitat, and that Congress should instead consider ways to support managed hunting that provides needed resources for conservation. 

“Well managed hunting programs have been responsible for the recovery of at-risk species including the southern white rhino as well as the elephant in southern Africa,” said Semcer. 

Semcer highlighted several key points in her testimony:

  • The context of African conservation is rapidly changing.
  • Hunting has and can provide the incentives and revenue necessary to make conservation efforts more resilient in the face of that change while conserving the health of ecosystems to make that change sustainable.
  • Hunting and photo-tourism are not interchangeable and restrictions on hunting have a track record of undermining the conservation of ecosystems and wildlife.

Catherine Semcer’s full written testimony is available here or see video of the hearing here.

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