Why let people pay to kill endangered species?

A single Namibian Black Rhino hunting permit was sold by auction for $350,000 in Dallas, Texas (USA) this week. “Killing one older male rhino who’s no longer able to breed, the club says, will benefit the rest of the herd. That’s because older males often remain territorial and sometimes kill younger male rhinos.”

A CNN report states that “All proceeds will be donated to the Namibian government and will be earmarked for conservation efforts, club officials say.” However, protests against the auction may have lowered the amount available for the project according to the Dallas Morning News: “The auction has drawn howls from critics, including wildlife and animal rights groups, and the FBI last week said it was investigating death threats against members of the club.” Ben Carter, executive director of the Safari Club said that: “the rhino that the winner will hunt is old, male and non-breeding — and that the animal was likely to be targeted for removal anyway because it was becoming aggressive and threatening other wildlife.”

In a related report, biologists warn that worldwide declines in carnivores is reaching critical levels:

An Oregon State University report says, more than 75 percent of the 31 large-carnivore species are declining. This is altering the face of landscapes worldwide.

They conducted study of 31 carnivore species that revealed how threats like persecution by humans, habitat loss and loss of prey are leading carnivore decline.

My work with African wildlife conservation manuscripts has heightened my awareness of some of the nuances in these wildlife conservation debates.

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