UK & World News

  • 12 January 2014, 15:29

Black Rhino Hunt: Permit Sells For $350k

A US hunting club has been criticised for selling a permit to kill an endangered black rhino in Namibia for $350,000 (£212,000).

Dallas Safari Club defended the sale, saying the cash would go towards animal conservation in the cash-strapped African country.

The permit allows the unnamed buyer to kill a single, post-breeding bull, with Namibian wildlife officials on hand to make sure an appropriate animal is targeted, said club executive director Ben Carter.

"Biologists in Namibia were hopeful that a US-based auction would produce a record amount for rhino conservation, and that's exactly what happened," he said.

"These bulls no longer contribute to the growth of the population and are in a lot of ways detrimental to the growth of the population because black rhinos are very aggressive and territorial.

"In many cases, they will kill younger, non-breeding bulls and have been known to kill calves and cows."

Wildlife campaigners protested outside the Dallas convention centre where the sale took place, and 70,000 people signed an online petition calling for the auction to be scrapped.

They argued that all black rhinos should be protected, given their endangered status.

"This auction is telling the world that an American will pay anything to kill their species," said Jeffrey Flocken, North American regional director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

"This is, in fact, making a spectacle of killing an endangered species."

The FBI said it was investigating "multiple" death threats against members of the club.

Mr Carter says his family and club staff have received threats.

There are an estimated 4,000 black rhinos left on the planet - down from some 70,000 in the 1960s. Nearly half of those left are in Namibia.

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