A permit to hunt and kill an endangered black rhino in Namibia, Africa was auctioned off in Texas during the late evening on Saturday, January 11, 2014. According to breaking news reports yesterday afternoon, organizers for the Dallas Safari Club auctioned the permit to an unnamed buyer for $350,000 despite massive protests and death threats that are currently being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
An estimated 1,800 of the world’s black rhino population currently lives in Namibia. Only three to five hunting permits are issued every year and this is the first time such a permit has ever been sold outside of the Africa country. Advocates are claiming that the auction is sending a bad message and makes light of conservation efforts to save the black rhino from extinction. According to Jeffrey Flocken, North American regional director of the Massachusetts-based IFAW:
"This auction is telling the world that an American will pay anything to kill their species. This is, in fact, making a spectacle of killing an endangered species."
In defense of the auction, Ben Carter, executive director of the Dallas Safari Club, explained that the permit was issued for the hunting and killing of one specific old male rhino that has become aggressive toward other wildlife.
Black rhinos are critically endangered due to illegal poaching because its horn is highly coveted in Asian nations for use in medical remedies and ornamental carving. As of February 2013, it was believed that a total of 4,880 individual rhinos existed in its natural habitat.
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