Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Dallas Safari Club executive director Ben Carter, right, talks with wildlife artist Raj S. Paul at his exhibit booth in the Dallas Convention Center as preparations continue for the clubs weekend show, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, in Dallas. The FBI is investigating death threats made against members of the Dallas Safari Club, which intends to auction off a rare permit to hunt an endangered black rhino, an FBI spokeswoman said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Dallas group set to auction permit to hunt rhino
First Published Jan 11 2014 04:43 pm • Last Updated Jan 11 2014 04:43 pm

Dallas • Hunt the black rhino to save the black rhino.

That’s the Dallas Safari Club’s approach to a fundraiser for efforts to protect the endangered species. The group hopes to raise more than $200,000 Saturday by auctioning off the right to shoot and kill a black rhinoceros in the African nation of Namibia.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

But the auction has drawn howls from critics, including wildlife and animal rights groups, and the FBI earlier this week said it was investigating death threats against members of the club.

Ben Carter, executive director of the Safari Club, defended the auction. He said all money raised will go toward rhino conservation efforts. He also said the rhino that the winner will hunt is old, male and nonbreeding — and that the animal was likely to be targeted for removal anyway because it was becoming aggressive and threatening other wildlife.

Carter added that wildlife experts say culling a herd is an acceptable habitat management practice.

"In most cases, this animal is detrimental," Carter said. "He’s past his prime."

But critics have questioned that logic. Officials from the Humane Society and the International Fund for Animal Welfare have said that while culling can be appropriate in abundant animal populations, all black rhinos should be protected, given their endangered status.

An estimated 4,000 black rhinos remain in the wild, down from 70,000 in the 1960s. Nearly 1,800 are in Namibia, according to the safari club.

Critics have also said any hunting of a rhino sends a bad message to the public.

"This auction is telling the world that an American will pay anything to kill their species," Jeffrey Flocken, North American regional director of the Massachusetts-based IFAW, said earlier this week. "This is, in fact, making a spectacle of killing an endangered species."


story continues below
story continues below

The auction was to take place Saturday night in downtown Dallas under tight security and behind closed doors. Organizers hoped to at least break the previous high bid for one of the permits in Namibia, which is $223,000, and had said the amount could be as high as $1 million. The winning bidder could come from anywhere in the world, and at least some bidders are expected to enter by phone.

Protesters were expected to rally against the auction Saturday.

Carter said he and Safari Club members were deluged in the days before the auction by angry messages, including the death threats.

"It appears to be an orchestrated series from people who are strongly anti-hunting," Carter said.

Poachers long have targeted all species of rhino, primarily for its horn, which is valuable on the international black market. Made of the protein keratin, the chief component in fingernails and hooves, the horn has been used in carvings and for medicinal purposes, mostly in Asia. The near-extinction of the species also has been attributed to habitat loss.

————

Graczyk reported from Houston.

Follow Nomaan Merchant on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nomaanmerchant .



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.