For decades, Dallas Safari Club’s annual convention, which took place Jan. 9-12, 2020 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center and Omni Hotel Dallas, United States, not only set the standard for sporting enthusiasts from around the world, but organized seminars to cover everything from field medicine and deer genetics, to anti-poaching efforts in Africa and around the world. This year’s Conservation, titled “Heritage,” welcomed more than 30,000 outdoors-men and women, and raised millions of dollars to benefit wildlife conservation, as well as the DSC and Dallas Ecological Foundation’s education programs. The International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC) was represented by George Aman, President of the CIC, and Tamás Marghescu, Director General of the CIC.
The CIC has a close working relation with DSC, and the CIC’s presence at the Convention further strengthened the CIC ‘s goals; representing hunters worldwide and building alliances, one of the top priorities of the organization. George Aman was invited to speak at the reception of Congressional Sportsmen Foundation, organized at the Dallas Safari Club Convention, where he expressed his gratitude to Dallas Safari Club for providing the CIC with a platform at the Convention to network with the American constituency. One of the most significant constraints of the hunting community is the inability to make available the required financial resources for intensified communications from hunters to the public. He highlighted in this context the “1 euro per hunter” initiative of the CIC, which was launched last year. The threats to hunting are global in nature. The President underlined that communication and international cooperation are the keys to succeed in the battle hunters are facing nowadays.
In the framework of the Convention, the CIC, together with DSC, organized the first National Journalism Symposium on Conservation and Sustainable Use of Wildlife Resources. The aim of the one day event was to bring together journalists, writers, and photographers from various backgrounds to discuss how to best communicate wildlife conservation issues and hunting as a tool for conservation to a non-hunting audience. The main theme was how media biases influence the success of conservation, for better or worse. Whether through hunting or non-hunting media, the implementation and ultimate success of conservation projects is often lessened because of the frequent inability of hunting and non-hunting organizations to collaborate or even communicate effectively for the greater good of wildlife. Participants discussed some of these instances, including current events, and put forth some suggestions. Throughout the symposium participants discussed examples of how negative media and emotion based journalism has caused real world consequences that is not in the best interest of conservation, and what a path forward looks like to start fostering more constructive conversations amongst these organizations, and hunters. Much focus was also placed on the implications that public opinion and media campaigns in the ‘west’ can have on the rest of the world, how that could be positive or negative, and how hunters might improve that strategy in our their own pursuits. One of the outcomes of the meeting was that success stories should be told by credible sources, and that messages should not only be tailored down to audiences, but also to communication channels. This is particularly true in the United States, where social media has taken over the printed media, and influencers form the public’s opinion.