Killing for Conservation
Can Hunting Save the Black Rhino?
Conservation, n.: “The action or process of conserving; preservation of life, health, perfection, etc.; (also) preservation from destructive influences, natural decay, or waste.”
What would you pay for the life of an endangered species, of which less than 5,000 currently exist? According to Corey Knowlton, the Texas-based big game hunting guide who purchased a trophy-hunting permit for the right to kill one Black Rhino, $350,000 is the cost of conservation.
The permit, purchased from the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism, was sold at an auction last weekend by the Dallas Safari Club, which insisted that the money would be used to fund rhino conservation efforts. But details on how it will be used to that end remain sketchy at best.
The Namibian government has allowed five Black Rhino trophy-hunt permits a year since 2004. Numbers of black rhino have increased in recent years from 3,600 to 5,055. But this hasn’t stopped the Black Rhino from appearing on the IUCN Red List as critically endangered, the highest level of threat before extinction.
So news of the hunting permit’s sale sparked vitriolic debate between hunting advocates and wildlife conservationists center on whether killing for conservation is moral, or effective in terms of saving a species.