Guns and Gear

Help save the Black Rhino by blowing one away

Grae Stafford Freelance Photographer

There are approximately 5,055 black rhinos left in the wild, but very soon there could only be 5,054. That’s if the Dallas Safari Club has their way.

The club intends to auction off a permit to legally hunt one of the endangered animals with 100% of the proceeds from the auction going to the  Conservation Trust Fund for Namibia’s Black Rhino. The estimates for how much could be raised vary from $250,000 to $1 million.

Conservation groups are understandably up in arms about this. Speaking to ABC, Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, is not impressed by this particular fundraising avenue.

“I think if they were multimillionaires and they were serious about helping rhinos, they could give money to help rhinos and not shoot one along the way,”  said Pacelle. “The first rule of protecting a rare species is to limit the human [related] killing.”

Pacelle also questioned the sportsmanship aspect of the hunt: “Rhinos are enormous lumbering animals who confront predators with their horn and physical mass,” said Pacelle. “Shooting a rhino is about as difficult as shooting a tank… In terms of the sportsmanship component it’s totally lacking.”

With powdered rhino horn a highly prized aphrodisiac commodity in the far east, illegal killing of black rhinos by poachers is rife. Nations and wildlife preservation organizations have, for decades, attempted to stem the trade in endangered animals. However, the numbers of black rhinos have dwindled.

In a statement, Ben Carter, executive director of the Dallas Safari Club said: “First and foremost, this is about saving the black rhino. ” He continued, “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.”

Statistically speaking, at least two rhinos will probably be killed by poachers today,” Scientific American blogger wrote in September. This hunting, of course, provides absolutely no revenue to the continuing conservation efforts of the black rhino.

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