Virtually all qualified authorities, governments and principle conservation organizations support the concept of sustainable use.

Among them are the Interior Department, International Union for Conservation of Nature, World Wildlife Fund and the National Wildlife Federation.Those that attack the idea are simply not relevant and usually are lacking wildlife management expertise.

Sustainable use exists all around us. If it didn't, there would be few, if any, animals left. Some of those animals that we use the most have the highest economic value and fare well in the survival competition for space, such as cattle, sheep and chickens. Their use gives them economic value, which assures their survival.

Game animals and fish have benefited from their sustainable use by American sportsmen. Their value arises from their use by more than 80 million hunters and fishermen whose interest is indispensable. It is indispensable because it reliably contributes more than 75 percent of the cost of wildlife conservation in this country.

The sustainable use of America's 32 million whitetail deer is why their population has more than doubled in the past 15 years.

The number of big-game hunters in the United States also has more than doubled since 1965, and consequently, the revenue from their activity, as well as the habitat they provide for wildlife, supports more deer than when Europeans first arrived.

It is incorrect to cite the African elephant as proof that sustainable use does not work. Ninety percent of its use was unlawful trade.

The Inuits in the Northwest Territory are another example. They have been sustainably harvesting 500 to 750 polar bear per year for more than 45 years without adverse consequences.

The white rhino in South Africa has increased from a mere 30 to more than 7,000 in hundreds of locations. This is largely due to the millions of dollars a year in revenue that has been generated from its sustainable use by tourist safari hunters. Its use generates the revenue to control poaching, and that revenue provides the incentive to protect it.

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Wildlife must have positive value to compete in most instances. Wildlife is far better off when it can be used sustainably in such a manner that it has a positive economic value. In those instances, its presence can be a wiser use of land than crops or livestock or even huts.

Its long-term survival is dependent upon the value it has to people in the developing countries that must share the land with it. If it can be made to pay, then it has an improved chance of staying.

Parks in Africa are zones of protection for Africa, but they are limited to 5 percent of available habitat. Even at 5 percent, there are too many parks to be self-supporting. It would be horribly insensitive to expect poverty-stricken people to devote more than 5 percent of their habitat to parks they can't support while they themselves go without basic services and needs.

So what happens to all the rest of the wildlife habitat? Sustainable use is the formula to save wildlife in the other 95 percent of the habitat.

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