One of the purposes of IOSH is to contribute to wildlife and habitat conservation. This is a commitment made by Ordensbrothers and accomplished at an individual level. One of the ways this is done is by personal monetary donations, as well as in-kind contributions (including major gifts of lands) to organizations which have a significant conservation purpose. In addition, Ordensbrothers have directly contributed to wildlife and habitat conservation by conducting, at their personal expense, land and habitat restoration projects on various types of habitat, as well as by the granting of permanent, irrevocable conservation easements on their own lands which protect these lands and habitat and will restrict them in perpetuity from commercial or other development.
In 2015, the IOSH conducted an extensive conservation inventory among its Ordensbrothers to determine the amount of monetary and in-kind donations they have made to conservation organizations and organizations created to promote and preserve hunting traditions, and the extent of acreage upon which they have conducted restoration and conservation measures in the last five years. The results showed that, during this period, the amount of the in-kind land donations and direct monetary contributions made by Ordensbrothers to conservation organizations exceeds $100,000,000 USD (€89,000,000) and the number of acres of land and habitat restored or permanently restricted by conservation easement from future development exceeds 200,000 acres (over 81,000 hectares).
These substantial gifts and conservation investments are voluntarily conferred by Ordensbrothers worldwide on an individual basis and not as part of any organized IOSH program. This is a continuation of the ancient tradition of respect for wildlife and protection and preservation of its habitat in the time-honored, centuries-old spirit of St. Hubertus.
One of the core missions and purposes of the Ordensbrothers of IOSH is to endeavor to ensure that the economic benefits derived from sports hunting and fishing support the regions where these activities are carried out. And also to encourage wildlife conservation and help protect endangered species from extinction.
Ordensbrothers worldwide make their own individual contributions to these ends, often at considerable personal expense in time, expertise, and money. And sometimes at great personal risk. This is one such story.
Richard Spencer is an Ordensbrother of the IOSH, a member of the Mountains & Plains Priory of the USA Chapter. He is an experienced hunter, personally interested in the preservation of this great heritage and of wildlife and its habitat. He lamented and disdained the merciless slaughter of elephants by the hundreds of thousands by poachers over the years in Kenya, a country which banned hunting and cancelled concessions protecting wildlife and habitat, but which seems powerless to stop the slaughter. Richard, having been a US military aviator, decided to do something about it, and to offer his expertise, time and money, risking his own life in the process.
He volunteered to help train Kenyan game rangers as aviators and enforcers against the powerful and deadly poaching elements. The skills required to pilot aircraft in this near-war environment are specialized and unique and they require hands-on work by experienced aviators and regular recurrent training in tactics and techniques in a danger zone. Great cunning and bravery is required. Richard had those skills and he was willing to demonstrate and teach them.
He traveled to Africa and joined a small band of dedicated men and women determined to stem the tide of slaughter and destruction. They trained, they flew patrols and missions, and they developed, demonstrated and taught special techniques, sometimes under live fire from the poachers. Richard also bought and supplied equipment to the rangers, including satellite beacons capable of reporting position and summoning backup and help.
Richard made a personal effort to effect a significant positive change in one corner of the world. This is emblematic of the core beliefs of IOSH and its Ordensbrothers, in the true spirit of St. Hubertus, a spirit begun in the 8th century AD, and perpetuated to this day by the members of IOSH.
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