Only two months after global controversy erupted over US imports of elephant and lion hunting trophies, a wealthy Texan has applied for a permit to import a trophy from his killing of a critically endangered black rhino from Namibia.
The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International are calling on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to deny this and any other import permit applications to hunters who want to kill and import trophies of the world’s last remaining black rhinos.
The Ministry of Environment and Tourism of the Republic of Namibia, jointly with two pro-trophy hunting lobby groups, the Dallas Safari Club Foundation and Conservation Force, quietly auctioned off the killing of the rhino in December 2016 for $275,000. The Texas hunter killed the rhino on February 27, 2017 at the luxury Veronica Game Lodge, operated by ARU Game Lodges, Namibia. ARU is a hunting outfitter which will exhibit it at the largest U.S. trophy hunting convention, hosted by Safari Club International in Las Vegas, in February 2018.
Masha Kalinina, international trade policy specialist at Humane Society International, said: “We call on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to support the conservation of critically endangered black rhinos by keeping them alive, and not permitting trophy hunters to kill them and import gruesome ‘prizes’ into the United States. Allowing trophy hunters to kill black rhinos will take a severe toll on their populations, already under immense pressure from poaching.”
Fewer than 5,500 black rhinos remain in the wild, and only 1,946 live in Namibia. Four years ago, a Texas millionaire and TV personality, Corey Knowlton, paid $350,000 to kill a black rhino in Namibia. The price tag for this rhino trophy may be as high or higher.
The animals are seriously threatened by poaching, which doubled in Namibia from 2013 to 2015. In 2015, poachers there killed 90 rhinos compared with one to four per year from 2006 to 2013. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has opened a 30-day comment period on this import application, seeking input from the public.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has initiated a 30-day public comment period. HSI and The HSUS urge members of the public to make their voices heard by submitting comments here.