Texas man who won hunting auction to be allowed to import black rhino trophy



The US government will allow a Texas man to import the trophy of an endangered if he kills one in Africa as part of a conservation fundraiser.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service said on Thursday that importing a carcass from meets criteria under the of benefiting conservation.

Corey Knowlton bid $350,000 last year in a auction billed as a fundraising effort to save the black rhino.

A ranger walks behind a pair of at a conservation park in Zimbabwe. Corey Knowlton has paid $350,000 to kill one rhino in Namibia. Photograph: Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters

In a letter to the agency in December, the club’s executive director, Ben Carter, said the money raised from such auctions is “critical to supporting the Namibian government in their efforts to stem the tide of commercial killing of these animals”.

Since publishing the initial request in November, the US Fish and Wildlife Service received more than 15,000 comments, as well as petitions with about 152,000 signatures demanding that it be denied. Animal rights group Peta said on Thursday that it will file a lawsuit.

The hunt was postponed and Knowlton’s money kept in escrow while the agency deliberated over the permit application.

A spokeswoman, Jay Ann Cox, could not immediately confirm on Thursday whether a date has been set for the hunt.

The agency also is allowing Michael Luzich, a Las Vegas investment manager, to import his trophy. directly sold him a hunting permit.

Luzich has received far less scrutiny than Knowlton, who said last year he hired full-time security because he had received death threats once his name became public knowledge.

The chief executive, Wayne Pacelle, said the federal agency is sending a “mixed message”, noting rhino poaching is on the rise.

The federal agency said it rejected permission to import an elephant trophy from because it would not enhance the survival of the species in the wild.

This article was first published by The Guardian on 27 Mar 2015.

 

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