Etosha rhino to be killed for cash

Earlier this month, for the first time a Namibian black rhino hunting permit was up for grabs outside of Nambia, with the Texas-based Dallas Safari Club eventually auctioning it off for a whopping $350,000

The permit will allow the anonymous bidder to hunt and kill a specific old rogue male rhino in Etosha National Park. The male is no longer fertile and has been expelled from its fellows.

The money raised from the sale of the permit will go into a rhino account run by the government’s Namibian Game Products Trust and will be used for conservation projects such as increased anti-poaching measures.

071 Etosha Wildlife

While many animal rights activists have protested against the sale of the permit, the Dallas Safari Club argue that it’s a case of sacrificing one aged animal for the good of the entire Namibian black rhino population.

Furthermore, some conservationists argue that older rogue males remain territorial and sometimes kill younger males. Dr Mike Knight of South Africa National Parks says that “the removal of the odd surplus male… can actually enhance overall metapopulation growth rates and further genetic conservation”.

But others have argued that the auction of the permit overshadows the fact that roughly 1,000 rhinos have been killed in neighboring South Africa this year by poachers. It also goes against the ideology of compassionate conservation, where, as Marc Bekoff of Psychology Today states, “the life of every individual matters and trading off an individual for the good of their own or another species is not an acceptable way to save species”.

Namibia has long seen trophy hunting as an important part of its conservation policies. Five black rhino hunting permits will be auctioned off this year; this first one has made headlines primarily because it was sold outside of the country.

However productive such an approach to conservation might be, any legal killing of a critically endangered animal is likely to attract great controversy, especially when so much money is involved.

Meanwhile, many would like to see more conservation measures introduced that look to strike a better balance between ethics and efficiency. As famous former game show host and prominent animal rights campaigner Bob Barker argues: “as an older male myself, I must say that this seems like a rather harsh way of dealing with senior citizens. … Surely, it is presumptuous to assume that this rhino’s life is no longer of any value. … True conservationists are those who pay money to keep rhinos alive—in the form of highly lucrative eco-tourism—as opposed to those who pay money for the cheap thrill of taking this magnificent animal’s life and putting his head on a wall.”

What are your thoughts? Leave your comments below.


  1. Avatar
    Neil Paterson January 20, 2014 at 12:58 pm - Reply

    I can understand the argument for the sale and the use of the proceeds……. but morally it is wrong and sends out the completely wrong message. And whoever won the auction……. have you no conscience???

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    Gino De Neve February 10, 2014 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    As a nature lover and big fan of African wildlife , I have no objections against tophy hunting as long as the revenues coming out of this are entirely used to protect and preserve the remaining wildlife. In the Selous, Tanzania, 80 % of revenue is coming from trophy hunting , but the numbers of wild animals has increased since they started the controlled hunting : less poaching and the poulation ( both man and wildlife ) are benfitting. Killing animals just b4 the end of their lifespan is just anticipating the inevitable and at the same time generating revenu. Cutting trees is the same thing , you generate revenue b4 while tree has value, if you wait till tree dies you have nothing , but at same time regeneration needs to be stimulated . Overkilling is taking away future potential, so well balanced maintenance of wildlife is beneficiary to ecology as well as economy . and there is nothing in this world that does not have an economic or ecologic value

    • Avatar
      Lekrom July 2, 2014 at 9:38 am - Reply

      Well, recent articles indicate Selous has lost up to 70% of its elephant population to poaching in the last 10 years. So the hunters’ arguments that hunting parties’ presence in an area discourages poaching is a bit blown out of the water, given the amount of hunting vs photographic tourism in Selous.

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    Beverly Houwing March 22, 2014 at 9:10 pm - Reply

    Barbaric idea! Why can’t the club DONATE money towards anti-poaching efforts and really support conservation!

  4. Avatar
    Mia R. April 7, 2014 at 3:35 pm - Reply

    Does anyone truly care about the entire Black Rhinos species anymore? It seems like today everyone only cares about themselves! What if someone sold a permit to a mysterious man to kill your grandfather, because apparently he’s too old and now has no meaning. That’s just horrible! I hope people start turning off their minds and start turning on their hearts! Nobody should get permission to kill a Black Rhino, no matter how old the rhino is and no matter how much money they paid! This is ridiculous and I hope someone stops this before the tragic ending!

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