Auction of Rhinoceros Hunting License Causes Controversy

rhinoceros, science, u.s., world

The decision of a Dallas conservation group to auction off a rare license, giving the holder the legal right to hunt an endangered black rhinoceros, has caused no small controversy among conservationists. It has also led to death threats being leveled at the organizer of the auction.

The Dallas Safari Club had hoped to raise as much as $1 million to aid future efforts in the conservation of wildlife in their charity auction expected to be held Saturday night. It was planned to auction off the license at that time.

Much criticism has been hurled at the club from groups including, but not limited to, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). PETA said the idea of auctioning off the item is another example of allowing rich hunters to purchase thrills, even at the cost of the life of a rhinoceros. It is estimated that there are approximately 4,800 of the species alive around the world.  This is according to the World Wildlife Federation.  The tourism ministry of Namibia says there are over 1,700 black rhinos living in their country.

Jeffrey Flocken, a spokesman for the International Animal Welfare told reporters that the species needs to be protected instead of auctioned off to the highest bidder.  Flocken further said that auction sends a very dangerous message. It relays a dead black rhinoceros stuffed, mounted and hung as a trophy on a living room in a mansion in Texas, is more valuable than a living one in the African wilds.

The government of Namibia is responsible for managing the black rhino population. The government allows approximately three hunting licenses on a yearly basis in order to aid in the culling of less healthy, older animals, according to a spokesman for the Dallas Safari Club.

Club Executive Director Ben Carter said in an interview, that in all honesty he felt the recent controversy over the launch of a hunting license for a black rhino was due to most people just being uninformed.  In an interview with Dallas public radio station KERA, Carter said that most people in the United States do not understand how things work in the African wild.

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service had publicly issued an endorsement of the auction with the statement that a limited weed-out of the overall rhino population of the male species that are too old to breed, helps reduce violence among other males. The selected license also lowers the death rate among juvenile age black rhinos. The Namibian government uses money from such auctions  to help fund the black rhinoceros black accounts, make improvement on the investigation of criminal activity related to black rhinos and even trace stolen rhinoceros horns.

This argument was made fun of by 90-year old animal rights activist and former game show host, Bob Barker. Barker said that this seemed to be a rather harsh method of any species to deal with their senior citizen population. Barker made these remarks in a letter released to the public by PETA.

Carter said that after the sale was publicized, death threats were hurled at his family and himself. The FBI confirmed that there was an investigation into multiple alleged death threats against different club members.

The website, Moveon, has posted a petition to stop the auction of the black rhino hunting license.  As of Saturday afternoon, the petition had drawn close to 1,900 signatures. The controversy continues.

By Rick Hope


USA Today


ABC News

3 Responses to "Auction of Rhinoceros Hunting License Causes Controversy"

  1. peggy70a   January 13, 2014 at 1:12 am

    If Africa has set a record for poaching how in the hell is killing one Rhino suspose to “help conserve” the species. Would not the “Murdering” of (I think I read over seven hundred have been poached) the large amount “help perserve” the species. See how stupid these highly intelligent multimillionaires sound with their bull crap reason for this insane idea! I can’t understand how the government would even allow “three” to be killed a year since poachers are “murdering” so many every month!!! What is wrong with these crazy people? Speaking on the violent nature of the Rhino, there is no species of animal on this earth as violent as the human species!!! To try and make the Rhino seem extra violent is just an excuse. Man marks his/her territory and will kill in a heartbeat to keep others out of his/her territory!!! Who ever goes to Africa I truly hope he/she will get gored in their butt!! Karma does have away of reaching out!!

  2. peggy70a   January 13, 2014 at 12:49 am

    The magic words seem to be “old, can’t breed, useless, Black and male. What an insane idea!!! So the answer is if a species meets the above crieteria it should be killed. Hummmmm!!!! I wonder if that is the reson all of the programs that are to help those of us who are old, can’t breed and will fight for our rights are being singled out for major cuts? Hopeing we will just go some place and die and get out of the way!!!

  3. William Signton   January 12, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    To hell with the Dallas Safari Club!

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