Killing One Rhino to Save the Rest

$350,000 hunting permit auctioned off in the name of conservation

Jan 13, 2014
Outside Magazine
News Outside Online

Will killing one black rhino for 350k help save the rest?    Johan Swanepoel/Thinkstock

The Dallas Safari Club successfully auctioned off a permit to kill a Namibian black rhino this weekend. The permit sold for $350,000, which will reportedly be used in the name of conservation. The idea is simple: Kill one black rhino to save the rest.

The Dallas Safari Club has worked closely with the Namibian government to track two or three geriatric male rhinos, which do not contribute to reproduction, as the targets for the hunt. All $350,000 from the auctioned permit will be given to the Namibian government, specially earmarked for conservation efforts.

"This is the best way to have the biggest impact on increasing the black rhino population," explains Ben Carter, executive director of the Dallas Safari Club. 

Black rhinos are considered a "critically endangered species" by wildlife groups around the world, according to reports from CNN. Some 5,000 black rhinos are estimated to exist, with 1,700 of those being in Namibia. Recently, the conservation-minded Namibian government has been issuing up to three black rhino permits annually to raise conservation money domestically. This will be the first sold outside the country.

The hunt has sparked uproar from the wildlife conservation community. "They need to be protected, not sold to the highest bidder," said Jeffrey Flocken of the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

Inarguably, the biggest threat to the black rhinos is the poachers who sell the horns on the black market for up to $60,000 per kilogram.