Black rhino hunt permit auctioned in US

Protest outside the Dallas Convention Center where the Dallas Safari Club held its weekend show and auction There were protests in Dallas as the auction took place

Related Stories

A permit to hunt and kill an endangered Black Rhino in Namibia has been sold at a US auction for $350,000 (£212,000).

The Dallas Safari Club in Texas says the hunt will help protect the species by removing an old aggressive rhino, and funding future conservation.

However, the auction has been fiercely criticised by conservationists, and has even drawn death threats.

Namibia is home to about a third of the world's 5,000 black rhinos, and issues just three hunting permits a year.

It is the first time a permit has been auctioned outside the southern African nation.

'A sad joke'

The auction was held amid tight security at a Dallas convention centre, where dozens of protesters had gathered.

The winning bidder - who has not been named - will hunt an old, non-breeding male rhino.

The organisers say such animals actually pose a threat to younger rhinos, which they sometimes charge and kill.

All proceeds will be donated to the Namibian government and will be earmarked for conservation efforts, safari club officials said.

An endangered east African black rhinoceros and her young one walk in Tanzania's Serengeti park (file photo) Experts say growing demand for rhino horn in Asia is driving up instances of poaching

Animal rights groups described the hunt's conservation claim as "perverse" and "a sad joke".

"This auction is telling the world that an American will pay anything to kill their species," Jeffrey Flocken of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (Ifaw) told the Associated Press.

"This is, in fact, making a spectacle of killing an endangered species."

More than 80,000 people signed online petitions against the auction.

The FBI says it is investigating a string of death threats over the auction.

At present it is estimated that there are around 20,000 white rhinos left.

Experts say that growing demand for rhino horn in Asia is driving up instances of poaching.

It is being fuelled by the belief in countries like China and Vietnam that powdered rhino horn has medicinal powers and can impact diseases like cancer. Horns can sell for around $65,000 a kg.

More on This Story

Related Stories

More US & Canada stories


Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Older ladyAge of happiness

    A Russian photographer documents inspirational seniors who are refusing to grow old


  • A computer generated model of a lift shaftClick Watch

    The future of elevator technology - lifts that can climb up to 1km in the air and even travel sideways

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.