UPDATE: Despite condemnation from animal rights organizations like the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), and many others, the Dallas Safari Club (DSC) auctioned off a black rhino hunting permit in Namibia over the weekend for $350,000. Watch the video below and continue reading for more on the auction. — Global Animal

(WILDLIFE/ENDANGERED SPECIES) In order to save the endangered black rhino, apparently you have to shoot one. This is the logic the Dallas Safari Club (DSC) is using to promote its auction for a Namibian black rhino hunting permit.

Despite the black rhino being critically endangered—with only 5,055 left worldwide and 1,795 of those in Namibia—Ben Carter, executive director of the DSC, defends the killing of this rare animal as a favor to the species.

A black rhino male and calf are seen in Mkuze, South Africa. A Wisconsin hunter has been granted a license to import a trophy from a black rhino he shot in Namibia in 2009. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service granted the import permit after reviewing Namibia's conservation program and deciding that well-managed sport hunting could play a beneficial role. Others said it set a dangerous precedent. Photo Credit: AP / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Karl Stromayer
A Wisconsin hunter was granted a license to import a trophy from a black rhino he shot in Namibia in 2009. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service granted the import permit after reviewing Namibia’s conservation program and deciding that well-managed sport hunting could play a beneficial role. Others said it set a dangerous precedent. Photo Credit: AP / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Karl Stromayer

“There is a biological reason for this hunt, and it’s based on a fundamental premise of modern wildlife management: Populations matter; individuals don’t,” Carter said. “By removing counterproductive individuals from a herd, rhino populations can actually grow.” 

Carter believes the DSC can fetch up to $1 million dollars for the hunting permit—every penny of which will be donated to the Conservation Trust Fund for Namibia’’s Black Rhino.

“People are talking about ‘Why don’t you do a photo safari?’ or whatever,” Carter told the Dallas Observer, “Well, that’s great, but people don’t pay for that.”

In an editorial for National Georgraphic, Jeff Flocken, North American director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), refuted the idea behind the auction, and its economic benefits to rhino conservation efforts.

“The idea of creating a bidding war for the opportunity to gun-down one of the last of a species ostensibly in the name of conservation is perverse and dangerous to buy into,” Flocken said.

“It promotes the economic axiom that scarcity equals value when dealing with living species. If an animal like the rare black rhinoceros is worth the most with a price on its head, what possible incentive does this provide range countries and local people to move the species toward recovery when the biggest buck can be made short-term by selling permits to kill them to the highest bidders?” he continued.

Photo Credit: Steve Lawrence
Only seven northern white rhinos remain in the world. Photo Credit: Steve Lawrence

In the last five years, the world lost two subspecies of rhino, and is on the verge of losing one more.

In 2011 and 2013, Vietnam’s Javan rhino and the Western black rhino were declared extinct respectively, while the northern white rhino population is down to its last seven rhinos.

“Killing animals to save them is not only counterintuitive but ludicrous,” Flocken told National Geographic in October.

“We’re talking a highly endangered species, and generating a furor to kill them in the name of conservation is not going to do anything to help them in the long run.”

So as the DSC’s convention kicks off this week, so does the bidding to kill one of the most endangered species on the planet.

According to Flocken, the auction to kill one of the last wild black rhinos is pushing the species closer to extinction “by telling the world rhinos are worth more to us rare and dead than healthy and flourishing in the wild where they belong.”

Watch Stephen Colbert tackle the issue in the video clip below.

— Israel Igualate, exclusive to Global Animal

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