Two Hunters' Legacies

 

Conservation Force lost two of its most important and generous benefactors this Spring. H.I.H. Prince Abdorreza died on May 11th, 2004 and Joseph F. Cullman, III on April 30. The following is about an extremely important part of their lives they shared that is their legacy.

H.I.H. Prince Abdorreza of Iran: Prince Abdorreza had more titles, credits and achievements than we have space for. He was the Founder and President of the International Foundation For The Conservation of Wildlife in Paris, which has been the most successful advocate of conservation through hunting in the world. (Abbreviated as "IGF" for International Foundation for the Conservation of Game as originally named.) No organization has served wildlife conservation through hunting or the international hunting community more. For example, it was IGF that established that hunting trophies of CITES Appendix I species were "recreational," not prohibited "commercial" trade at the Second Conference of the Parties, Conf. Res. 2.11. The Prince, through his Foundation, has funded the World Conservation Force Bulletin for eight years.

The Foundation continues to fund this publication and partner with Conservation Force around the world. It is working closely with Conservation Force in our joint campaign to save African lions and lion hunting. Dr. Philippe Chardonnet is the new Executive Director and chief scientist. Dr. Chardonnet oversaw the Survey of the African Lion, 2002.

The new President of the Prince’s Foundation is Comte Xavier de MONTBEL. He was Vice-President. Bertrand des Clers and I still serve on the Board. For more about the Foundation see www.wildlifeconservation .org. For more about the Prince’s unequaled hunting adventures, read ROYAL QUEST, The Hunting Saga of H.I.H. Prince Abdorreza Pahlavi of Iran, just published by Safari Press, 714-894-9080.

The Prince established more than 20 million acres of reserves and parks in Iran alone. His father was His Imperial Majesty Reza Shah the Great, the father of modern Iran, which placed the Prince in the Shah of Iran line. In Royal Quest the Prince states: "Of all my accomplishments, I am proudest of my efforts to conserve wildlife and its habitat for future generations. Very early on, I became concerned about my own country’s wildlife and was in a position to assist in the creation of Iran’s first game laws and its first game department. I am proud that the game reserves I helped create have allowed Iran’s wildlife to survive a long period of turmoil. I am proud that because of my concern, the Persian fallow deer, the cheetah, and other species in Iran did not become extinct. I also am proud that my Paris-based foundation (International Foundation for the Conservation of Wildlife) has been able to contribute so much to conservation projects around the world. Nonhunters may never understand how I could simultaneously be a wildlife protector and a sport hunter. For hunters, however, there is no irony in this. Many of the world’s wild species would not exist today if hunters had not taken steps to conserve and protect them…. As President Theodore Roosevelt said, ‘The encouragement of a proper hunting spirit, a proper love of sport, instead of being incompatible with a love of nature and wild things, offers the best guaranty of their preservation.’ I am a firm believer in this."

The Prince began IGF with a personal donation, which his OPEC friends each separately matched. It is hard to imagine where the hunting community would be today without his Foundation. We’ll miss our inspirational friend and supporter.

Joseph F. Cullman, III: Joe Cullman was the giant of the entire tobacco industry who created Phillip Morris Companies, Inc. (Marlboro, Kraft Foods, Miller Brewery and much more). He helped start World Wildlife Fund with his hunting buddy Russell Train, who became its first US Chairman. Joe even housed WWF in its early days in his office building in New York. Though one of his smallest contributions, he bragged about being one of the original 1,000 WWF members who donated $10,000 each to start WWF.

He went to Africa on safari nearly every year. In 1990, he joined forces with the renowned professional hunter, Robin Hurt, to form the Cullman and Hurt Community Wildlife Project and its Managing Trust to address the wildlife problems in Tanzania. Some of the funding for the program comes from a 20 percent surcharge Hurt’s safari clients contribute to Conservation Force. Joseph Cullman helped raise other money in the US for support of the project and was one of its largest contributors himself. The project has built more than 26 schools, six medical dispensaries, operates two mobile medical clinics and operates two fully trained and equipped mobile anti-poaching patrols and much more. It is the foremost program of its kind and has been for nearly 15 years. It is the model for all others and yours truly serves on the Trust Board.

A year has not gone by when Joe did not contribute substantial sums personally, or raise large sums from other sources. Last year, he hosted a silent art auction at the American Museum of Natural History in its Ackley Room. It is a night we will never forget. Joe managed to add more than $300,000 to Conservation Force’s account for the project that night.

He was a major benefactor of WWF, the American Museum of Natural History and Tanzania through Conversation Force. He wrote that his hunting and fishing interest in the outdoors led him to these three conservation efforts and that"….when I was in school, Teddy Roosevelt became a great hero of mine, in part because of his great dedication to conservation." Joe bragged that he was the "first and only Honorary Trustee of the World Wildlife Fund...." A picture of him receiving that award from Katherine Fuller is in his autobiography where he also wrote, "In general, licensed hunters kill only animals that are abundant.... If you had gone to East Africa years ago, you would soon have learned just how many species were endangered. Some of these are thriving today.... Were it not for tourism and hunting, Tanzania would not have the funds...so badly needed for development. Robin Hurt takes tourists and hunters on safaris, and uses part of the money they bring to Tanzania to help preserve the wildlife and the habitat so future tourists will want to go there.... We are using the Cullman and Hurt Community Wildlife Project as a pilot program, hoping other conservation organizations active in Tanzania will expand the CWP (Cullman Wildlife Project) idea to other parts of the country." Conservation Force also hopes others follow the model and stands ready to assist all to fulfill Joe’s dream.

This man who had everything wrote in his autobiography, I’m a Lucky Guy: "I’m a lucky guy in so many ways...but more extraordinary than any of these is...being able to give back to society and nature so much of the monetary good fortune that has come my way. It seems to me that the success of capitalistic, democratic society depends so much on its citizens’ dedication to philanthropy. It’s a responsibility that successful American businessmen must fulfill with generosity. I suppose that when my obituaries are written, they will stress my work at Phillip Morris, and I have no quarrel with that. But a person is more than his work. I consider my efforts at Conser- vation...to have been a most important part of my life."

These departed friends are two contemporary examples of individuals who have connected with wildlife through hunting and consequently were devoted conservationists. Both quoted and were enamored of hunter-conservationist, Teddy Roosevelt. The Prince was the Roosevelt of his own country of Iran and Joe was one of the fathers of one of the largest conservation organizations in the world, WWF. Whether non-hunters think it ironic or not, hunters are the foremost wildlife conservationists.

This brings us to an important point. H.I.H. Prince Abdorreza and Joseph E. Cullman, III, were more than hunters, admirers of Teddy Roosevelt and wildlife conservationists. They were both wildlife philanthropists. Surely, they contributed their time and money because they had the necessary resources, but they really contributed because it was very important to them. It was one of the most rewarding aspects of their lives. Think about that. If those with royalty and those with riches value it above all else, it must be of real value. Experts such as David E. Mason state that volunteering and philanthropy are forms of "expression" that provide intrinsic reward and fulfillment that is a higher order need. It is a directly gratifying activity for its own sake, as well as an expression of the values of the individual giving of himself and his resources.

It is a dimension of human need all are not fortunate enough to recognize to satisfy. People need to express themselves and their values as an end in itself. Their lives are significantly enriched by their philanthropic activities. Just take a lesson that those who have had everything they could desire take the greatest satisfaction from their nonprofit volunteer and philanthropic activities. It is one of those un-measurable human needs like love and joy that make us distinctly human. Devoting yourself to it is one of the greatest pleasures in life. Both the Prince and Joe held important wildlife values and a sense of destiny that they were expressing that will benefit all hunters forever.

This year at the conventions many hundreds of people, literally, came to Chrissie and I to thank us for Conservation Force and what it is achieving. The kudos, trust and confidence, and appreciation were wonderful. Never have we experienced such exuberant acceptance and recognition.

Even the Conklin Foundation presented the first Conklin Conservation Commendation recognizing:

"John J. Jackson, III and Conservation Force for their exemplary and outstanding achievements in the area of hunter advocacy and worldwide big game conservation. Without their efforts, hunters would have far fewer adventure opportunities."

In response, I found myself trying to explain that our volunteer devotion to the cause is its own reward. It is gratifying in itself intrinsically to express and protect our shared values that are so very important to us and our way of life. It is a higher order need that we and the many other volunteers and partners of Conservation Force are fulfilling that is its own reward. Our devotion to it is a labor of love. We have been lucky to have the support of the Prince and Joe who shared the vision. Their legacy is World Wildlife Fund, the International Foundation for the Conservation of Wildlife, Cullman & Hurt Community Wildlife Project and Conservation Force.

It is not only what those volunteer organizations have done, but what they will continue to do that is important. Those organizations are legacies. Those great organizations themselves continue to express the values of their founders and supporters. The philanthropy of the Prince and Joe gave a special purpose to and enriched their lives.

Join with us in keeping and fulfilling their dreams. Please join with Conservation Force by volunteering your time and support for our shared values. Write: Conservation Force, 3240 S I-10 Service Road W, Suite 200, Metairie, LA 70001-6911. Contributions are tax deductible. – John J. Jackson, III.