To Save The Black Rhino, Hunting Club Bids On Killing One | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

To Save The Black Rhino, Hunting Club Bids On Killing One

Play associated audio

Fewer than 5,000 black rhinos are thought to exist in the wild, and in an effort to preserve the species, the Dallas Safari Club is offering a chance to kill one.

The Texas-based hunting organization is auctioning off a permit to hunt a rhinoceros in Nambia. It's a fundraiser intended to help save the larger population.

The idea may sound counter-intuitive, but Dallas Safari Club executive Ben Carter tells NPR's Jennifer Ludden that raising the funds to support the species is what many scientists and biologists believe is the best way to grow the population of black rhinos.

"It takes money for these animals to exist. A lot of people don't recognize that," Carter says. An endangered species like the black rhino needs a lot of support — land, protection, management, studies. "This is one way to raise a lot of money at one time," he says. "That can make a huge impact on the future of the species."

Predictably, the Jan. 11 auction has raised controversy within the environmental community. There's an online petition, currently just short of 50,000 signatures, calling to stop the auction. Carter and his staff have received a lot of hate mail, including death threats.

Carter says many of those who object are not educated in the role that hunting plays in conservation. A habitat can only sustain a certain population, he says, and any excess can be harvested and used to raise money through selling things like hunting licenses and permits.

The winner of the Dallas Safari Club's auction will hunt a specially selected rhino. Namibia's Department of Wildlife looks for a rhino that's too old to breed — and too aggressive to stay in the herd. When black rhinos get older, Carter says, they remain territorial and sometimes kill younger rhino bulls and calves. He says the department often removes these rhinos for the protection of the population anyway.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acknowledges the practice can be helpful, reports The Washington Post:

"The removal of limited numbers of males has been shown to stimulate population growth in some areas," according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "Removing specific individuals from a population can result in reduced male fighting, shorter calving intervals and reduced juvenile mortality."

Carter hopes the permit will sell between $225,000 to $1 million at the auction and says all the proceeds will go back to Namibia wildlife, earmarked for black rhinos. The Dallas Safari Club won't make a penny off of the fundraiser, and the auctioneer isn't even charging a fee.

"It's all, 100-percent, going straight to conservation," he says.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, July 30

You can keep things old school with a classic musical and an exhibit featuring watercolor paintings from the 1800s.

NPR

Farming The Bluefin Tuna, Tiger Of The Ocean, Is Not Without A Price

Scientists are trying to raise prized bluefin tuna completely in captivity. An experiment at a Baltimore college is the first successful attempt in North America.
NPR

Senate's Highway Trust Fund Bill Sets Up Conflict With The House

A short-term fix for the nearly empty Highway Trust Fund is a step closer to President Obama's desk. Congress has been talking about the long-term problems with the construction account, but the two chambers have not agreed on a long-term solution.
NPR

OkCupid Sometimes Messes A Bit With Love, In The Name Of Science

OkCupid, the online dating site, disclosed Monday that they sometimes manipulate their users' profiles for experiments.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.