Against a torrent of death threats, the Dallas Safari Club (DSC) is forging ahead with plans to auction a black rhino-hunting permit on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Namibia.
Scientists and conservationists support the auction and hunt as crucial to the future of a long-revered African game species now threatened by habitat loss and poaching.
Supportive letters and statements from rhino experts are posted at the URL below.
Financial as well as biological benefits to rhino conservation efforts are at stake.
DSC expects the permit to sell for at least $250,000, perhaps up to $1 million. All proceeds will be returned to Namibia for underfunded rhino-related projects such as anti-poaching patrols.
Black rhinos are aggressive and territorial. Old, post-breeding males are known to kill younger bulls, cows and even calves. They also consume food, water and space needed to sustain the breeding animals required for species survival. Biologists call these surplus animals because removing them does no long-term harm to a populationand can actually help it grow.
Since 2004, with the blessing of scientists in an international body called CITES, Namibia has been authorized to sell up to five hunting permits a year. With selective hunting as a part of its comprehensive rhino conservation strategy, the countrys black rhino population has more than doubled since 1990.
Rhino hunting permits have never been sold outside of Namibia. And theyve never sold for more than $223,000. When conservation officials approached us about auctioning a permit on Namibias behalf, we were excited. We think we can help generate more funding for rhino conservationhopefully a lot more, said Ben Carter, DSC executive director.
Part of DSCs enthusiasm is based in new cooperation from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, which controls importation of endangered species. In 2013, for the first time, the agency OKd an application to import a hunted black rhino from Namibia. Federal biologists agreed it was an old, post-breeding, surplus bull. A Colorado hunter was allowed to bring his trophy home. More....