DALLAS (Nov. 25, 2013)—At the request of wildlife biologists and the Republic of Namibia, the Dallas Safari Club (DSC) has agreed to auction a permit to hunt one of the country’s 1,700-plus black rhinos—with all proceeds earmarked for rhino research, habitat and anti-poaching efforts in Namibia.

DSC expects the permit to generate at least $250,000, possibly up to $1 million, of crucial conservation funding.

Along with financial benefits, the hunt also will bring biological benefits to rhino conservation. The successful bidder will be required to hunt selectively for an old post-breeding bull. These animals can be territorial and aggressive to the point of killing younger bulls, cows, even calves. They also consume resources needed to sustain breeding animals. Removing these bulls can increase herd survival and ultimately allow rhino populations to expand.

DSC will sell the hunting permit during its annual convention and expo, Jan. 9-12, in Dallas.

Here’s what scientists and rhino experts say:

Dr. Rosie Cooney, Chair
Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

Dec. 11, 2013, letter to DSC
“From a conservation perspective, we believe there are sound and compelling reasons to support this auction, and do not see any valid basis for opposing it…We recognise that it is not immediately intuitive that trophy hunting – even for endangered species – can be a positive conservation tool that can be used to fight poaching and acquire more habitat for wildlife. We further understand that the very idea of hunting is abhorrent to many people. However, in a world that requires pragmatic conservation solutions, trophy hunting – where well-managed – is frequently one of the most effective conservation tools available. Capitalising on the humane demise of a post reproductive animal in order to produce tangible benefits for the conservation of its species is a sound strategy worthy of strong support.”

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Pierre du Preez

Chief Conservation Scientist: Wildlife Research

National Rhino Coordinator



Namibia Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET)

Nov. 2013 letter to DSC

“To hunt a black rhino is not taken lightly by Namibia were the black rhino population has more than doubled since Independence (1990)…Individual black rhino trophy animals are identified by MET insuring that only old geriatric bulls, which are marginalized in the population and do not contribute to reproduction, are trophy hunted. These potential trophy animals are hunted under strict supervision by MET officials to ensure only those individuals meeting the criteria are hunted. Furthermore by only allowing the hunting of three animals a year, MET ensures that the off-take is less than 0.2 percent of the national black rhino population, which is sustainable.”

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Pierre du Preez

Chief Conservation Scientist: Wildlife Research

National Rhino Coordinator



Namibia Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET)

Nov. 11, 2013, interview with du Preez on Project: African Rhino

“In 1966 we had about 60 or so animals left in the country. We had a dip in 1989 when we had serious poaching, but in the past 20 years, we’ve lost no more than 10-12 animals to poaching. Now we’re standing at over 1,700 animals. The population growth over the time period, about 5 percent per annum, is quite realistic for Namibia—we’re very arid. Overall the population is doing very well. Our management plan says we must try for 5 percent, and we do achieve it. Over the past couple of years it’s been 7 percent…”

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Bryan Arroyo

Assistant Director-International Affairs

US Fish & Wildlife Service

Oct. 25, 2013, letter to DSC

“I am pleased to hear that Dallas Safari Club and Dallas Ecological Foundation (DSC/DEF) are interested in the conservation of black rhinoceros in Namibia and are willing to facilitate an auction of a Namibian black rhinoceros hunting license…I see DSC/DEF’s efforts on holding this auction, if done for the benefit of the species, as a positive step in the conservation of the black rhinoceros and that the Service can issue an import permit, if the following conditions described below are met.”

READ FULL LETTER

CITES

(Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species)

“Establishing Export Quotas for Black Rhinoceros Hunting Trophies

Oct. 2004 Resolution

“…Financial benefits derived from trophy hunting of a limited number of specimens will benefit the conservation of the species directly and provide additional incentives for conservation and habitat protection, when such hunting is done within the framework of national conservation and management plans and programs…”

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US Fish and Wildlife Service

Nov. 4, 2013, website Q&A

“In 2003, Namibia instituted the ‘Black Rhino Conservation Strategy for Namibia’ with very specific management goals in the areas of range expansion, biological management, protection, policy and legislative framework, capacity-building and sustainability. As part of this strategy, Namibia authorized an annual harvest of five post-reproductive male black rhinos. The removal of limited numbers of males has been shown to stimulate population growth in some areas. Removing specific individuals from a population can result in reduced male fighting, shorter calving intervals, and reduced juvenile mortality.”

“Further, the Namibian government requires a significant contribution to the Game Products Trust Fund (GPTF) for any sport hunting of black rhino to ensure that revenue is directed towards conservation. Money accrued from trophy hunting of black rhinos has been used to fund annual black rhino counts, improved rhino crime investigation and prosecution, and to ensure the traceability of all rhino horn owned by Namibia.”

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US Fish and Wildlife Service

Nov. 4, 2013, website Q&A

“In March 2013, the Service issued one permit for the import of a sport-hunted black rhinoceros. That is the only permit that has been issued to date…The permit issued in March 2013 applied to a black rhino taken in Namibia in 2009 in accordance with a scientifically-based selection process within Namibia’s national strategy and with significant funds ($175,000) directed to the GPTF. We found that the importation of that sport-hunted black rhino trophy did enhance the survival of the species.”

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World Wildlife Fund

Dec. 14, 2009, letter to US Fish and Wildlife Service regarding importation of a black rhino trophy under CITES regulations.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), which has worked in Namibia for over 20 years providing technical assistance to Namibia’s Ministry of Environment and Tourism for monitoring black rhino populations, expanding rhino range to wildlife conservancies managed by local communities and developing a National Black Rhino Management Plan, supported the 2013 importation of a black rhino trophy from Namibia.

READ FULL LETTER

Save The Rhino

Nov. 4, 2013, website commentary

“South Africa introduced limited white rhino hunting in 1968, when there were only 1,800 animals within South Africa (now there are 19,000). Namibia and South Africa have each had the right (under CITES…) to offer up to five trophy hunts of black rhinos since 2004, when there were around 3,600 black rhinos (now there are 5,055). In other words, black rhino trophy hunting has been on offer for nine years already.”

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Save The Rhino

Nov. 22, 2013, website statement

Position on trophy hunting: “We support the sustainable use of wildlife (i.e. culling, cropping and hunting) provided it is legal and the profits are ploughed back into conservation.”

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Namibian Association of Community-based Natural Resource Management Support Organizations (NASCO)

Nov. 2013 letter to DSC

“NASCO would hereby like to support the efforts of the Dallas Safari Club to raise funds for our rhino conservation efforts in Namibia. These funds will support the conservation of rhinos in Namibia.”

READ FULL LETTER

Also Worth Reading

Dallas Safari Club

“Rhino Permit to be Auctioned at DSC Convention”

Oct. 11, 2013, auction announcement

Dallas Safari Club

“9 Essential Facts About the DSC Rhino Permit Auction”

Oct. 25, 2013, news release

National Geographic

“Rhino Hunt Permit Action Sets Off Conservation Debate”

Oct. 28, 2013, website article

Dallas Morning News

“Dallas Safari Club’s Auction of Black Rhino Hunt Draws Praise, Criticism”

Oct. 30, 2013, website article

RYOT

“Here’s Why Hunting an Endangered Black Rhino or Two Makes Sense”

Oct. 30, 2013, website op-ed

Jan Martin McGuire

“How Hunting One Animal Will Save Hundreds”

Oct. 2013 website commentary by a wildlife artist

The Namibian

“In Defense of the Indefensible”

Nov. 1, 2013, website commentary by a photo safari operator

Dallas Morning News

“Snap Judgment is Unhealthy for Black Rhinos—And Us”

Nov. 3, 2013, website op-ed

Daily Maverick

“In Defense of a Lion Killer”

Nov. 19, 2013, website op-ed

About Dallas Safari Club (DSC)

Desert bighorns on an unbroken landscape, stalking Cape buffalo in heavy brush, students discovering conservation. DSC works to guarantee a future for all these and much more. An independent organization since 1982, DSC has become an international leader in conserving wildlife and wilderness lands, educating youth and the general public, and promoting and protecting the rights and interests of hunters worldwide. Get involved at www.biggame.org.