An unidentified person agreed to pay $350,000 to legally hunt an endangered African black rhino in Namibia. The Dallas Safari Club held the auction amid protests from wildlife advocates and in the end sold off the hunting permit for far less than the $1 million some were predicting would be the winning bid. But it was still a record considering the previous high bid for one of the Namibia permits had been $223,000, reports the Associated Press.
The Safari Club insists the auction was held in the interest of helping conserve the threatened black rhino, a “critically endangered species” of which there are only about 5,000 in the world, reports CNN. Namibia sells about five hunting permits per year for the black rhino, although this was the first time it was auctioned outside the country. Winners of the auction are only allowed to hunt from a pre-selected group of old, nonbreeding male rhinos. Yet that specification has done little to quell the criticism of conservationists who say it is ridiculous to talk about killing one animal for the greater good of the species.
"They need to be protected, not sold to the highest bidder," said Jeffrey Flocken of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). "It also sends a dangerous message that these iconic and disappearing animals are worth more as dead trophies to be mounted and hung on a wall in a Texas mansion than living in the wild in Africa."