A Texas hunting group will auction off the opportunity to kill a member of the endangered black rhino species, arguing that the money raised will be used to fund conservation efforts.
The Dallas Observer reported on Wednesday that the Dallas Safari Club (DSC) has obtained permission from both the Namibian government and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to auction off the special permit during its January 2014 convention.
Only 5,055 rhinos are still living in the wild, with about 1,800 of them in Namibia. The Telegraph reported in March 2013 that, though poaching attacks on the species had become a relative rarity, local officials were wary of a resurgence.
“The whole model of wildlife conservation, of sustainable-use conservation, is that any resource, if it has a value, it will stay there, it will continue to flourish,” DSC Executive Director Ben Carter told the Observer, adding that he expected the auction to raise around $750,000, with the money going to a conservation trust fund, where it will be used to fight poachers, conduct health checkups on other rhinos and for population surveys.
“Black rhinos tend to have a fairly high mortality rate,” Carter explained to the Observer. “Generally speaking, out of a population of 2,000, harvesting three rhinos over a couple or three years has no impact on the health of the rhino herd at all.”
Carter also responded to calls for an auction that would not involve killing a rhino through a “photo safari” by telling the Observer, “Well, that’s great, but people don’t pay for that.”
[Image: “Black Rhinoceros In Masai Mara National Park In Kenya” via Shutterstock]