It’s one of the world’s most endangered species, and a permit to hunt the animal was just auctioned off for $350,000.
The Dallas Safari Club has come under heavy scrutiny from wildlife and animal rights groups for its decision to auction off a hunting permit in Namibia for a black African rhino. (Via National Geographic)
By the group's own admission, the rhino population is dwindling. It says there are about 4,000 black rhinos left in the wild — a number down from 70,000 in the 1960s. (Via Fox News)
But the group argues hunting the rhino can actually help save it. That's because the permit only applies to rhinos that are old, male and non-breeding. In other words, rhinos no longer contributing to the population.
The group’s executive director says removing aggressive males is the best way to increase the herd, even if that logic sounds contradictory. (Via Discovery)
Writing in a statement: “There is a biological reason for this hunt, and it's based on a fundamental premise of modern wildlife management: populations matter; individuals don't … By removing counterproductive individuals from a herd, rhino populations can actually grow.” (Via ABC)
But some wildlife groups say when a species population is as small as the black rhino, that practice is no longer beneficial.
"To kill one, scientifically, it's not conservation. To conserve a black rhino let's make sure they have a habitat —protected habitat — and protect them from poachers and needless slaughter." (Via WFAA)
“It also sends a dangerous message that these iconic and disappearing animals are worth more as dead trophies to be mounted and hung on a wall in a Texas mansion than living in the wild in Africa." (Via CNN)
The Namibian government allows three hunting licenses per year, under internationally-approved guidelines. The Dallas Safari Club isn’t naming the buyer of this permit, but says all the money raised from the auction will go toward conservation efforts.