We’ve been following closely the story of the Texas man who paid $350,000 for the chance to kill an endangered black rhinoceros, and we’re sad to report today that the hunter has succeeded. Corey Knowlton purchased the permit to kill the endangered animal in an auction in January 2014, igniting a firestorm of controversy. Less than two months after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sanctioned the hunt, Knowlton traveled to Namibia and killed a bull rhino with three shots.
After hunting in an undisclosed part of the country for several days, the final moments for the rhino came after he charged at Knowlton, according to local trackers and a crew from CNN. Knowlton fired two shots from a high-powered rifle when the rhino was about 30 feet away. After firing a third shot, the endangered animal died. Knowlton was reported by CNN to claim that this particular bull rhino was a problem, killing cows, calves and other bulls in a jealous rage.
Earlier this year, the Washington Post reported that the International Union for the Conservation of Nature said the issue with killing a rhinoceros for sport is understandable but “confuses illegal poaching with well-managed hunting tourism. Well-managed trophy hunting has little to do with poaching, and indeed can be a key tool to help combat it,” the union said. Without it, African conservationists “would not be able to employ the upwards of 3,000 field rangers employed to protect wildlife and enforce regulations.”
With only about 5,000 black rhinos still remaining across Africa, in particular, in Namibia. Knowlton said he is 100 percent confident that he did the right thing. He was emotional about the hunt, he said, but was confident from day one that it was benefitting the rhino in the end. Further, he added, with the amount of controversy the hunt brought and both praise and derision from each side, he is sure that the black rhino couldn’t have received more attention.
Knowlton told the Washington Post last year that the controversy surrounding his hunt has “been a nightmare,” but his experience pales in comparison to the rhino’s fate. CNN reports that meat from the 3,000 pound beast will feed a nearby village, while Knowlton plans to import the horns, the hide and body to the U.S. as his hunter’s trophy.