Fish and wildlife are a worldwide resource, and challenges to their responsible management – and, in some cases, their very existence – occur across the globe. This summer the TRCP sent representatives to the fourth International Wildlife Management Congress in Durban, South Africa, cosponsored by The Wildlife Society, a TRCP partner and leader in educating and informing wildlife management professionals.
The 2012 congress, “Cooperative Wildlife Management across Borders: Learning in the Face of Change,” focused on how wildlife managers can better conserve and manage wildlife resources on an international scale. The TRCP’s Tom Franklin and Steve Belinda were on hand to speak about the increase of shale gas development throughout North America and the associated negative impacts to wildlife. Their presentation described the boom in natural gas production in the United States over the last decade and the many challenges created for wildlife managers.
Franklin and Belinda, both wildlife biologists, explained how new technology has resulted in an unprecedented effort to find and produce natural gas in some of the most important wildlife habitats in the nation. Habitats – including those occupied by mule deer and sage grouse – have been seriously impacted by energy exploration and development.
During their presentation, the TRCP representatives demonstrated the importance of balancing the needs of wildlife and energy – an approach that includes comprehensive conservation planning, adaptive management, mitigation planning, monitoring and stakeholder involvement.
Their presentation highlighted the fact that responsible energy development can proceed while minimizing impacts to wildlife and water resources and thereby minimizing conflicts among a wide variety of user groups, including hunters and anglers.
Overall, more than 400 delegates from 35 countries attended the event in South Africa, exploring a wide range of issues including the following:
- human dimensions of wildlife management and conservation: conflict, urban interface and land use
- climate change
- wildlife health and disease
- endangered species recovery
- invasive species threats
- trans-border cooperation and conservation
- natural resource use and sustainability
- habitat restoration and modification
The TRCP supports the responsible development of energy resources in appropriate areas. The TRCP’s set of principles on this issue, “FACTS for Fish and Wildlife,” provides guidance for responsible energy development that upholds our nation’s shared natural resources and unique outdoor legacy.