A Texas hunting group is auctioning off a permit to shoot and kill one of the most endangered animals in the world: a black rhino.
The Dallas Safari Club, an international organization of hunters and wildlife enthusiasts, said they plan to auction off a permit to hunt an endangered black rhino from the government of the Republic of Namibia. However, the organization says their goal is actually to save the rhino, of which there are approximately 5,055.
"First and foremost, this is about saving the black rhino," Ben Carter, the executive director of the Dallas Safari Club, said in a statement. "There is a biological reason for this hunt, and it's based on a fundamental premise of modern wildlife management: populations matter; individuals don't. By removing counterproductive individuals from a herd, rhino populations can actually grow."
The group said 100 percent of the proceeds made from the sale of the permit, estimated to be auctioned off for $250,000 to $1 million, will go towards the Conservation Trust Fund for Namibia's Black Rhino.
But conservation groups said that the club's claim that the hunt will actually benefit the species was based on faulty logic.
Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, said it would make more sense for the wildlife enthusiasts to donate money solely for rhino conservation that to kill one of the animals.
"I think if they were multimillionaires and they were serious about helping rhinos, they could give money to help rhinos and not shoot one along the way," said Pacelle. "The first rule of protecting a rare species is to limit the human [related] killing."
Pacelle also said that the rhino's size and temperament make it a fairly easy animal to hunt and kill.
"Rhinos are enormous lumbering animals who confront predators with their horn and physical mass," said Pacelle. "Shooting a rhino is about as difficult as shooting a tank… In terms of the sportsmanship component it's totally lacking."
Pacelle said the Humane Society is going to petition the U.S Fish and Wildlife service in an effort to keep them from issuing an additional permit to the Dallas Safari Club that would allow the hunter of the rhino to bring back the rhino carcass.
Calls made to the Dallas Safari Club for additional comment were not immediately returned.
The auction is scheduled during annual Dallas Safari Club convention in January of next year.