“Killing it to save it” seems to be the misguided logic a Texas man is using to justify his plans to hunt a Black Rhino in Namibia. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is evaluating the hunter’s application for a permit to import the carcass of an endangered black rhino back into the U.S. Corey Knowlton paid $350,000 for the right to kill a black rhino from the Dallas Safari Club, according to The Guardian. Knowlton told WFAA “I’m a hunter… I want to experience a black rhino. I want to be intimately involved with a black rhino. If I go over there and shoot it or not shoot it, it’s beyond the point.”
The club says that despite objections by animal rights enthusiasts, the male targeted by the hunt is older, not able to reproduce and is likely going to be culled from the herd anyway because he is becoming aggressive.Knowlton says he is under the impression that the hunt will be “well managed” and that the lofty sum he paid will go back into helping the remaining rhinos.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is sifting through the more 15,000 comments it has received since the application was filed in November, as well as sort through petitions with over 135,000 signatures. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website, “In 2003, Namibia instituted the ‘Black Rhino Conservation Strategy for Namibia’ with very specific management goals in the areas of range expansion, biological management, protection, policy and legislative framework, capacity-building and sustainability.”
The site goes on to say “As part of this strategy, Namibia authorized an annual harvest of five post-reproductive male black rhinos. The removal of limited numbers of males has been shown to stimulate population growth in some areas. Removing specific individuals from a population can result in reduced male fighting, shorter calving intervals, and reduced juvenile mortality.”
Knowlton, who said he and his family have received death threats, still intends to go through with the hunt, depending on the outcome of his application. Animal rights activists cite the poaching threat to the remaining 4,800 black rhinos in the world (1,800 of which are in Namibia). Black rhinos are sought after for their horns, and allowing this type of hunt to take place encourages the practice, they argue.
“Kill it to save it is counterintuitive and flawed logic,” said Jeff Flocken, the North American regional director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare. “The fact that some Americans are showing they will pay any price to kill one of the last black rhinos is not going to help the species in the long run but only continue to put a price on its head.”
The Dallas Safari Club did indicate in a report by CBS News, that they would cancel the hunt if the application was denied.
Via The Guardian
Photos by Flickr/David Shane