CIC Edmond Blanc Awards 2007
Belgrade, 4 May 2007
During the closing session of the 54th General Assembly of the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC), held in Belgrade, four exceptional projects focusing on hunting as well as wildlife conservation were rewarded with the Edmond Blanc Awards of the CIC.
The CIC is jointly giving the prestigious Edmond Blanc Prize to the Kyaramacan Association and the Namibian Ministry of Environment & Tourism, which have collaborated in the management of two very valuable hunting tourism concessions in the Bwabwata National Park in Northeast Namibia. The Bwabwata National Park is one of two parks in Namibia in which people are allowed to reside. The Park is inhabited by approximately 7.000 mainly Kwe San (Bushman) community members who live side-by-side with a range of dangerous and valuable African animals such as Elephant, Buffalo, Lion, Leopard, and Hyena. From 1990 to 2005 the Kwe San community played a pivotal conservation role in park anti-poaching activities, confiscation of more than 150 firearms, and monitoring of wildlife populations, despite the fact that they were never able to benefit from the wildlife they were protecting. Finally, in early 2006 the Government of Namibia recognized the rights of the Park’s community residents when the Ministry of Environment & Tourism awarded two lucrative trophy hunting concessions to the recently registered Kyaramacan Association. During the remainder of 2006, the Kyaramacan Association received more than US$ 400.000 in income and benefits from the trophy hunting proceeds generated by the two hunting concessions. The Association has used these funds to pay the salaries of more than 40 conservation related community staff members and support a range of development activities for the Association’s community members. An additional 17 community members are employed by the concession’s hunting operators. Through the revenues they generate, they are the largest employers in the Park.
The award of the Edmond Blanc Prize to both, the Kyaramacan Association and the Ministry of Environment & Tourism gives, as CIC President Dieter Schramm points out, “international recognition to the significant achievements the Namibian Government and the Kyaramacan Association have made and to the valuable role that hunting tourism can play for conservation, rural development and empowerment of impoverished communities to sustainably manage their natural resources”.
This year’s Edmond Blanc Prize equally goes to the projects “FUST” (Fonds für Umweltstudien, Austria) and “Walbecker-Modell” (Germany), initiated and financed by the Underberg family. “FUST” is an integral Habitat- and Wildlife-Management project, which aims to solve conflicts between forestry, agriculture and wildlife in the alpine region of Austria. Its progressive results and recommendations, especially for sustainable wildlife management and hunting, can be applied to many other regions as well. It started in 1993 and will end in 2010. The “Walbecker Modell” is an outstanding example for successful small game management in a very intensively used agricultural area. With this project the Underberg family achieved to attract the landowners on their hunting ground in the area of Walbeck (Germany, County North Rhine-Westphalia) to invest into the improvement of small game habitats. The effects of this model for the multitude and diversity of wildlife in this area are very positive, so that the populations of partridges and especially hares can be hunted sustainably.
The Project “Valley of Stags” of the German Wildlife Foundation (Deutsche Wildtier Stiftung) in Klepelshagen (Germany, County Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania) awarded with the Edmond Blanc Diploma combines the interests of agriculture, forestry, ecotourism and hunting with the specific needs of the local Red deer population very successfully. “Red deer can be spotted in the open land of Klepelshagen during daytime – an experience, which has become rather rare in the intensively used landscape of Germany nowadays”, said Dieter Schramm, President of the CIC, and praised the endeavors of the German Wildlife Foundation. To achieve daytime activity of Red deer in the open land specious hunting sanctuaries and enough food are needed as major factors – Klepelshagen offers both. “This award of the CIC is not only a reward for our work at the “Valley of Stags”, but a motivation to continue our endeavors to improve the treatment of the Red deer population in Germany”, explained Hilmar von Münchhausen, CEO of the German Wildlife Foundation, after the award was handed over to him by Dr. Nicolas Franco.
The Hunting Management Unit of St. Hubert Forest Area (Haute-Ardenne, Belgium) was also awarded with the Edmond Blanc Diploma. Founded in 1982 by the "Royal Hunt Estate of St-Michel-Freyr" in order to ensure the the sustainable management of Red deer and Wild boar, the Hunting Management Unit of St. Hubert is a society gathering more than 130 territories on about 45.000 ha of the surronding forests of Saint Hubert. As Prof. Simon de Crombrugghe pointed out the 3 main objectives of the Hunting Management Unit are: Game management based on scientific standards, Habitat improvement and Integrating the various functions of the forest.
Read more about the 54th CIC General Assembly.