Controversy surrounded a fundraiser and hunt for a black rhinoceros, but the Boone and Crockett Club praised both as positive moves for the future of a critically endangered game species.
During its Jan. 9-12 convention, Dallas Safari Club (DSC) auctioned a rhino-hunting permit prescribed by biologists in Namibia. The hunt will be for an old, post-breeding, aggressive bull known to charge and kill younger bulls, cows and calves in Mangetti National Park. Removing these animals increases herd survival and productivity.
The hunt brought $350,000—with 100 percent of proceeds earmarked for Namibia’s rhino conservation efforts including anti-poaching patrols. Animal rights activists worked to stop the fundraiser with petitions, media hysteria and “Those who oppose hunting are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own version of the facts,” said Bill Demmer, president of Boone and Crockett Club. “The science behind this hunt is irrefutable. And the harvest of one animal for the betterment of a species, especially one as threatened as the black rhino, is conservation in practice.”
He added that complete protectionism is simply too narrow a view in a modern world where natural resources are too precious to be left to chance. In today’s human-influenced landscapes, letting nature take its course in all instances has proven irresponsible. Wildlife, especially those species targeted by illegal poaching, does not thrive on its own. It requires law enforcement, habitat preservation, research and science-based oversight, and other active conservation measures. Someone has to pay for that
management, and for many species, that someone is, and always has been, sportsmen.
Demmer said, “History shows repeated successes with hunter contributions to restore and sustain wildlife. Whitetail deer, elk, pronghorn and bighorn sheep are just a few examples from North America. The black rhino is the newest example from Africa.”
The Club applauds DSC, the government of the Republic of Namibia, their biologists and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (which agreed to cooperate with a qualified hunter on trophy importation) for their strong actions for the future of black rhinos.