The Dallas Safari Club said it will go ahead with the auction a black rhino hunting permit on behalf of Namibia, despite death threats against members of the organizations.
The club expects the permit to sell for at least $250,000 and perhaps fetch $1 million, according to a news release. Proceeds will be returned to Namibia for rhino-related projects such as anti-poaching patrols.
Since 2004, with the blessing of scientists in an international body called CITES, Namibia has been authorized to sell as many as five hunting permits a year. With selective hunting as a part of its comprehensive rhino conservation strategy, the country’s black rhino population has more than doubled since 1990.
“Rhino hunting permits have never been sold outside of Namibia. And they’ve never sold for more than $223,000. When conservation officials approached us about auctioning a permit on Namibia’s behalf, we were excited. We think we can help generate more funding for rhino conservation — hopefully a lot more,” said Ben Carter, DSC executive director, in the release.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service controls importation of endangered species. In 2013, for the first time, the agency approved an application to import a hunted black rhino from Namibia. Federal biologists agreed it was an old, post-breeding surplus bull. A Colorado hunter was allowed to bring the animal home.
When the club announced its auction in mid-October death threats began to flow via email, phone calls and social media.
“We expected our announcement to surprise some people, but we didn’t anticipate that level of hate. People who see themselves as more evolved, and as beacons of compassion, were threatening to kill my children,” said Carter, in the release.