This past week on the Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert brought attention to an absurd new proposition to save endangered black rhinos – by killing one of them.
The Dallas Safari Club plans to auction off the opportunity to shoot and kill an endangered rhino and then donate the money to saving the black rhino population. The auction will take place in January and is expected to raise around $750,000. The money will be donated to the Conservation Trust Fund for Namibia’s Black Rhino.
While the cause is noble, the method of procuring the funds is hardly what animal rights activists would call conservation.
The DSC has obtained a permit from the government of Namibia to allow for the hunting of one rhino.
There are only 1,800 black rhinos left in Namibia and 5,055 in the world. The black rhino has been hunted almost to the point of extinction, largely due to unfounded beliefs in their horns’ medicinal properties. In traditional Chinese medicine, ground up horns are dissolved in boiling water and then used to treat several ailments, including rheumatism and gout.
Colbert showed video clips of the DSC executive director, Ben Carter, promoting the auction. Carter was “stoked” at the idea of shooting an endangered rhino and getting to keep the horn as a trophy.
The DSC has pointed out that the rhino allowed to be killed will be of an older male rhino population that is no longer breeding. These rhinos tend to be aggressive and can hurt other rhinos so the DSC believes that removing them will help the population overall. But it is still unclear why “removal” from the rhino population translates into killing the animal for sport.
“People are talking about ‘why don’t you do a photo safari?’ or whatever…Well, that’s great but people don’t pay for that,” said Carter.
Wildlife conservationists and animal rights advocates disagree, claiming there are more humane methods of removing dangerous animals from herds and that true conservationists would donate money without killing an animal.
Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States told ABC,
“I think if they were multimillionaires and they were serious about helping rhinos, they could give money to help rhinos and not shoot one along the way. The first rule of protecting a rare species is to limit the human [related] killing.”
HSUS is petitioning the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to refrain from issuing a permit that would allow the buyer to bring back the rhino’s remains as a trophy.
TAKE ACTION: Ask the DSC to reconsider their auction. Sign this petition today!
For the full Colbert Report segment, click here.
— Elana Pisani, exclusive to Global Animal