€250,000 auction to kill rhino sparks uproar
Opponents say the controversial sale in Texas of a licence to kill an ageing black rhino in Namibia sends out the wrong message.
Big game hunters from across the US were winding up a four-day annual jamboree in Dallas last night where the highlight was an auction to raise money to save the black Rhino in Africa. The top lot: a permit to shoot one.
The Dallas Safari Club confirmed that when the gavel dropped at Saturday evening's sale, the permit to hunt a single black rhino in Namibia had sold for $350,000 (€256,000).
The club went ahead with the sale in spite of fierce criticism from animal welfare advocates who challenged the logic of purportedly working to save the black rhino from extinction by selling a hunter the chance to slaughter one.
The permit came direct from the Namibian government, which makes three available each year for the precise purpose of raising money for its rhino conservation programme. It was the first time one had been made available for sale outside the country, however. The world's black rhino population stands at a perilous 5,000.
"They need to be protected, not sold to the highest bidder," said Jeffrey Flocken of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, adding that the auction sent "a 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". (© Independent News Service)