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Condemnation For Dallas Safari Club's Decision To Auction A License To Kill An Endangered Black Rhinoceros In Namibia

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The Dallas Safari Club’s auction for a license to kill an endangered black rhinoceros in Namibia’s Mangetti National Park – a much-criticized move that the club has defended by explaining that it will pre-select an animal who is “old and unable to reproduce” – has caused outrage and sadness across the globe.

The proceeds of the auction, which raised $350,000, are going to a fund used by the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism for anti-poaching patrols, habitat protection and research.

However, no ‘price was right’ for TV icon Bob Barker, who wrote a letter to the club asking that it call off the auction. “As an older male myself, I must say that this seems like rather a harsh way of dealing with senior citizens,” he wrote.

“I can certainly sympathize with this animal’s plight... Surely, it is presumptuous to assume that this rhino’s life is no longer of any value. There are only about 5,000 black rhinos still alive in Africa... What makes you any better than the poachers who kill rhinos to feed their families?

“At least, they are honest about their less noble motives. You try to dress up greed under the guise of ‘conservation’. True conservationists are those who pay money to keep rhinos alive – in the form of highly lucrative eco-tourism – as opposed to those who pay money for the cheap thrill of taking this magnificent animal’s life and putting his head on a wall.

“If you want someone’s head to go on a wall, pick mine. I will happily send you an autographed photo to auction off instead. My mug may not fetch as much money as that of a dead rhino, but at least we’ll all live to enjoy another sunrise in our sunset years.”

Jeffrey Flocken, North American regional director at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) also spoke up against the auction.

“This auction tells the world that some Americans will pay anything for the opportunity to kill one of the last of a species,” he said. "It also sends a dangerous message that these iconic and disappearing animals are worth more as dead trophies to be mounted and hung on a wall in a Texas mansion, than living in the wild in Africa. 

“This is not conservation, and it’s a sad joke that Dallas Safari Club is trying to call it that.”

And now, wildlife conservation charity, Born Free USA, is calling for action to oppose any permit application to bring the black rhino ‘trophy’ into the U.S.

“Born Free USA is saddened by Namibia's misguided and short-sighted decision to allow this black rhino hunt to take place,” said Adam Roberts, the charity’s executive vice president.

“More importantly we will be mobilizing our grassroots supporters nationwide to oppose any permit application to bring the ‘trophy’ back into America.

“With fewer than 5,000 black rhinos left in the wild it is truly shocking that any hunter would consider it sporting to slaughter one. That's not real conservation. Real conservation involves wildlife law enforcement, securing protected areas and stopping illicit trade. Funds to underwrite these vital, life-saving activities could be provided without carnage.

“More than 1,000 rhinos were poached in South Africa alone in 2013 – the highest number in one year on record. The global conservation community and governments everywhere must speak with a unified voice to declare that any killing of any rhino is incompatible with conservation, and for a species as imperiled as the rhino, every animal's life is significant.”

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