RENO, Nev.— Bill Gaines of Gaines & Associates, representing many of the wildlife conservation groups in California, was presented with the Conservationist of the Year Award by Conservation Force last month in Reno, Nevada.
The award was presented to Gaines by professional conservationist and attorney John J. Jackson III, President of Conservation Force and Past-President of Safari Club International. The award was presented to Gaines “in recognition of his extraordinary expertise, skill and leadership in the defeat of SB 1487, The Iconic African Species Protection Act that was vetoed by the Governor of California.” “Without Bill’s advice, counsel and representation, Conservation Force and four of the African range countries that actively opposed the bill would not have been heard, and their educational materials and letters of concern would not have been timely and thoroughly distributed to the committees, and to every Assembly Member and Senator daily for weeks, and then readdressed and directed to the Governor of the State of California,” stated Jackson.
“The purpose of SB 1487 was to discourage Americans from safari hunting in Africa and to continue the State of California’s ‘animal rights leadership’, according to initial committee reports. The problem with the bill was it would have the opposite effect on the conservation of the named species. SB 1487 would not have provided a single cent or any incentive for the conservation of the species. Instead, it would have reduced the operating budgets, conservation infrastructure and anti-poaching capacity. The proposal would have also reduced a great deal of important habitats that are essential for the survival of the same species the bill was proposing to protect,” Jackson noted. “It would have harmed the very best programs for the species where they are doing the best and where their populations stable or increasing.” As part of Gaines’ and Jackson’s efforts, four of Africa’s most successful countries where these wildlife are faring best – Zimbabwe, Namibia, Tanzania and South Africa – wrote letters to all the Members of the California State Legislature and Governor Jerry Brown noting that licensed, regulated safari hunting was by design their most effective and efficient conservation tool.
“Most California Legislators ignored the documented facts, experts and authorities, but they could not ignore the federal and international conservation laws that supersede the language of SB 1487,” Jackson said. “Although the bill was largely gutted by the time it reached the Governor, it was still illegal, hence vetoed by the Governor.” With the counsel of John Jackson, Conservation Force had already defeated a similar bill against trophy imports in Federal Court in New Jersey. In California, Jackson and Gaines were present and collecting the evidence to ensure the success of another suit, should it have been necessary. “All other states have declined to pass illegal legislation since Conservation Force won the State of New Jersey case. California was a tougher nut to crack but, thanks to Bill Gaines of Gaines & Associates, more litigation was not necessary,” according to Jackson.
SB 1487 – authored by California State Senator Henry I. Stern (D/27-Calabasas) – proposed to enact the “Iconic African Species Protection Act” which would have prohibited the possession of any part, product, offspring, or dead body of African elephant, African lion, leopard, black rhinoceros, white rhinoceros, giraffe, Jentink’s duiker, plains zebra, mountain zebra, hippopotamus, and/or striped hyena.
For more information, particularly about the conservation and rural community benefits of safari hunting, contact John J Jackson III at JJW-NO@Att.NET, or by phone at (504) 453 2754.
For more information regarding the efforts of Bill Gaines and Gaines & Associates to protect and promote wildlife conservation and hunting in California and beyond, contact Gaines & Associates at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (916) 337-9031
BILL GAINES OF Gaines & Associates is awarded “Conservationist Of The Year Award by J ohn J. Jackson III, President of Conservation Force, after legislative work he did to defeat SB 1487, which would have discouraged hunters from hunting in Africa.