A black rhino hunt is not on many bucket lists since the beast is an endangered species and under a serious poaching assault. However, it’s important to note that a leading African conservation group is endorsing a hunt to be auctioned off at the upcoming Dallas Safari Club Convention. Every hunter needs to be a hunting ambassador, and this support, as posted in GameTrails from the Dallas Safari Club, is a prime example of hunters as conservationists.

Caracal safari 5 gemsbok and lions 001At the request of wildlife biologists and the Republic of Namibia, the Dallas Safari Club (DSC) has agreed to auction a permit to hunt one of the country’s 1,700-plus black rhinos—with all proceeds earmarked for rhino research, habitat and anti-poaching efforts in Namibia. DSC expects the permit to generate at least $250,000, possibly up to $1 million, of crucial conservation funding.

Along with financial benefits, the hunt also will bring biological benefits to rhino conservation. The successful bidder will be required to hunt selectively for an old post-breeding bull. These animals can be territorial and aggressive to the point of killing younger bulls, cows, even calves. They also consume resources needed to sustain breeding animals. Removing these bulls can increase herd survival and ultimately allow rhino populations to expand.  DSC will sell the hunting permit during its annual convention and expo, Jan. 9-12, in Dallas.

Here’s what scientists and rhino experts say: Dr. Rosie Cooney, th[9]Chair Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Dec. 11, 2013, letter to DSC…

“From a conservation perspective, we believe there are sound and compelling reasons to support this auction, and do not see any valid basis for opposing it… We recognise that it is not immediately intuitive that trophy hunting — even for endangered species — can be a positive conservation tool that can be used to fight poaching and acquire more habitat for wildlife. We further understand that the very idea of hunting is abhorrent to many people. However, in a world that requires pragmatic conservation solutions, trophy hunting — where well-managed — is frequently one of the most effective conservation tools available. Capitalising on the humane demise of a post reproductive animal in order to produce tangible benefits for the conservation of its species is a sound strategy worthy of strong support.”

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Joe Byers
Joe Byers has more than 1,000 magazine articles in print and is currently a field editor with Whitetail Journal, Predator Xtreme, Whitetails Unlimited, Crossbow Revolution, and African Hunting Journal magazines. He’s spent the last three decades depicting the thrill of the chase and photographing the majesty of all things wild. Byers is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and numerous other professional and conservation organizations.