Endangered Black Rhino Hunting Permit was Sold for $350,000! Is That Even Legal???

A permit to hunt an endangered African “Black Rhino” was sold for $350,000 at a closed-door auction in Dallas Saturday (1/11/14). Currently an estimated 4,000 Black Rhinos remain in the wild, down from as many as 70,000 in the 1960s. The permit is for a hunt in the African nation of Namibia where nearly 1,800 of the remaining Black Rhinos are located, according to the Dallas Safari Club.

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.” -Fox News

Steve Wagner, a spokesman for the Dallas Safari Club, which sponsored the closed-door event Saturday night, confirmed the sale of the permit for a hunt in the African nation of Namibia. He declined to name the buyer.

The Dallas Safari Club, describing themselves as an “organization of hunters, conservationists, and wildlife enthusiasts” had come under heavy criticism for sponsoring the auction, despite their insistence that the auction’s proceeds would go toward conservation efforts.

Black Rhino

The Safari Club’s executive director, Ben Carter, has defended the auction, saying all money raised will go toward protecting the species. He also said the rhino that the winner will be allowed to 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.

But despite the stated “cause” the auction still received disapproval from tons of critics, including many wildlife and animal rights groups. It has even gotten so bad that the FBI earlier this week said it was investigating death threats against members of the club.

As far as the legality of the permit sale, it is obviously legal technically or the auction wouldn’t have taken place or would have been shut down. But what do you guys think? Should it be legal if the proceeds go to the conservation of the animal (despite how ironic that may sound)? Or should it be illegal to hunt an endangered species no matter what?

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