Stop black rhino trophies at the border: hunting isn’t conservation

We knew the auction import permit request was coming. The second was a surprise.  Now we need to ensure that neither is granted.  Following their auctioning off the opportunity to hunt one endangered male black rhino – touted as a “conservation” action  -- the Dallas Safari Club’s highest bidder has made a request to bring back the mounted trophy of his victim.

The request was one of two such requests to bring back rhino trophies announced today by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; the other comes from an American hunter who negotiated killing the rhino directly with the Namibian government.

We knew the auction import permit request was coming. The second was a surprise.  Now we need to ensure that neither is granted.  

At the time of the auction, the Dallas Safari Club claimed that the funds raised would go toward conservation efforts and support Namibia in its efforts to counter poachers.

As if this “kill a member of the species to save it” position were not twisted enough, later reports indicated that the organization threatened to withdraw its donation to Namibia if the U.S. did not allow the hunter to import the rhino trophy.

With only 5,000 black rhinos left in the world, the real value and worth of the species—and all critically endangered species for that matter—is in their life, not the price tag for their death.

An overwhelming majority of Americans agree. We found in a recent survey that 77 percent of Americans are opposed to private organizations raffling off permits to hunt an endangered species in Africa, and 89 percent said they were opposed to the hunting of rhinos for sport.

Those who agree that the U.S. should not allow these trophies of critically endangered black rhinos to be imported can submit public comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. We hope to flood the agency with comments that demonstrate how many members of the American public oppose the actions of a few powerful and vainglorious trophy hunters.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has an opportunity to set an example for the world by denying the import permit for a rare black rhino needlessly killed. 

In this day and age, we do not need to kill an animal to save it.

--JF

Protect black rhinos from trophy hunters, take action now

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