Dallas, TX, United States (4E) – Namibia’s first international permit to hunt one endangered rhinoceros in the country was sold for $350,000 at an auction in Dallas, Texas on Saturday evening.
The Dallas Safari Club (DSC), which conducted the closed-door bidding of the permit at the Dallas Convention Center during its annual convention, did not name the winning bidder for security reason.
The club’s officials apparently received death threats as the auction drew protesters. Before the convention, animal rights activists, former “The Price is Right” TV show host Bob Barker and Jeffrey Flocken of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) criticized the auction. Online, more than 80,000 people signed a petition opposing the auction.
The ministry of environment and tourism of Namibia, where about a third of the world’s 5,000 endangered black rhinos live, issued the hunting permit for one old and aggressive rhino to raise funds for the conservation of the same animals.
The ministry, which issues only three such permits per year, only allows hunting of “old geriatric bulls” that do not contribute to the animal population or attack younger rhinos.
DSC executive director Ben Carter justified the auction and hunt saying it is the best way to increase the dwindling black rhinoceros population. Flocken disagrees and said it promotes hunting of the endangered animal.
The issue has put the Save the Rhino Trust in Namibia, which helps the Namibian government fight poachers, in a dilemma. Marcia Fargnoli, chief executive officer of the organization, admitted she struggles to save rhinos and at the same time let one to be hunted because Namibia is a poor country that needs funds to run its conservation program.