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Namibia is planning to hold an auction to raise money for the conservation of rhinos in their country. But what they’re planning to auction is a legal hunting permit for a black rhino – the scarcer of the two already vulnerable animals. According to a report on Tourism Update, the auction will be hosted by the Dallas Safari Club during its annual convention and expo in January. The hunt will take place at Mangetti National Park, in northern Namibia.

As cruel as this sounds, the auction is set to raise a considerable amount of money that will go directly toward conserving rhinos in Namibia. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has granted Namibia an annual export quota of up to five hunter-taken black rhinos. This means that the hunting of five black rhinos per year is entirely legal in Namibia.

“This fundraiser is the first of its kind for an endangered species,” said Dallas Safari Club Executive Director, Ben Carter. “It’s going to generate a sum of money large enough to be enormously meaningful in Namibia’s fight to ensure the future of its Black rhino populations.”

There are currently only 4 848 black rhinos left in Africa and the western black rhino was declared extinct in June this year. Closer to home, figures are looking increasingly dire with 790 rhinos already poached during this year (up until 25 October 2013). During the entire duration of 2012, 668 rhinos were poached in South Africa. This, according to the Department of Environmental Affairs, published on Stop Rhino Poaching. 259 arrests have already been made this year.

As the situation is getting increasingly desperate, governments are trying anything and everything to curb poaching. Earlier this year there was talk about South Africa legalising trade in rhino horn. Other possible solutions have also included a chemical composition that will affect the health of those who consume rhino horn. Many have opted for dehorning their rhinos in an attempt to keep poachers at bay, but the rhino remains under growing threat of becoming extinct.

What do you think? Leave your comments regarding Namibia’s hunting permit and other solutions to rhino poaching in the comments section below.

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  • T

    This is absurd…an atrocity. Legalizing an illegal act to the person who can pay the most money….just damn stupid.

  • Pamela Freeman

    The entire notion of this auction is horrific. They are justifying this action with the crazy logic of “kill a rhino to save a rhino” for an animal that has almost been wiped off the face of the planet thru the greed, ignorance and corruption of man.

    If the government of Namibia is so desperate for funds to continue their conservation efforts, they have many other ways of raising money that do not involve the killing of a rhino. They can do other things, such as auction off several 5-star, “celebrity style” PHOTO safaris, “sponsor a rhino” events, name a geographical point after a bidder, etc etc etc……they do not have to kill a single one of their rhino stock, even an animal this is considered “old” and past breeding capacity just to raise money. I would hate to think that our society has stooped so low that we can justify “trophy killing” an animal simply because it is “old” and no longer breeding. Every rhino deserves the opportunity to live it’s life out in peace and safety to the end of it’s natural days. The ONLY conditions under which any endangered species animal like the rhino should be killed is if it sick or maimed, and suffering. Period.

    I have sent emails of protest directly to The Dallas Safari Club, to all the rhino conservation groups I can find, to Prince William’s wildlife charity, to the World Wildlife Fund, to the world head offices of the Humane Society and the SPCA, and to various celebrities in the US who have taken up the cause of African animal protection and conservation. I have also emailed the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, and the Mayor of Dallas, Mike Rawlings. I am currently trying to find an appropriate contact within the Namibian government with whom I can register my protest against this event.

  • Kurt Doerig / Meyrin-Geneva/Switzerland

    What a nonsense! The Rhino is close to extinction and we are unable to stop these atrocious poachers with legal resources?? Now we want to legalize shooting Rhinos….!!! What a SICK LOGIC this is. Which
    “normal” individual can support this proposal?? I don’t get it, sorry. kd, switzerland

    • BRENDA G.

      makes me ashamed to be African.

  • JHV

    There is s lot of criticism against it which I think is unfair. The scientific reasons on which basis the removal of this particular rhino is justified should be considered very carefully. This is the most important aspect and no other fund raising effort will provide a solution to it. Leaving this animal may be detrimental in the long term according to the scientists. That is why large organizations such as CITES and the UICN is approving this move and not opposing it. This was not an irrational or ill considered decision lightly taken at the spur of the moment. The fact that all money raised is going into conservation is great. The projects to be funded has also been listed and is transparent for all to see – all proceeds fully and directly ploughed back into rhino conservation. In this instance hunting is used as a cost effective management tool to harvest this animal. It sounds absurd at first glance but there is a logic in this move when looked at objectively.

    • I agree with you – Namibia has an enviable record on rhino conservation with a highly efficient anti-poaching force. There will never be enough money to equip such a force with modern technology on an on-going basis and if the money raised in selling an old bull past it’s breeding prime is used for this, I am all in favour. As you say, this move has been done only after a great deal of research and unemotional analysis. PJN

  • It is quite common for emotion to get in the way of logic. I am not having a go at anyone but merely wish to state the facts so that all of you are – hopefully – able to make more informed decisions on this extremely important matter. Finding something unpalatable or even abhorrent is subjective, it’s personal and is simply not proper justification for wanting to ban something. You’ve got to remove sentimentality from the equation and look at the facts and ask yourself: “Does hunting have a positive effect on wildlife conservation?” The answer to that question is, overwhelmingly, “Yes” and no matter how distasteful you find hunting, the facts are indisputable. There is no place for sentimentality in wildlife conservation. Hunters do not expect everyone to find what they do palatable or tasteful, but what they do expect, is a sense of reason, objectivity and logic. If you can do that, you will invariably recognise that hunting does, in fact, play a crucial role in the management and conservation of South Africa’s wildlife. Here are the facts which many of you don’t know about. Project rhino initiated in the late 70’s by the legendary Ian Player became the greatest wildlife success story over night. A very clever mover by the Natal Parks board saw white rhino being downgraded from CITES appendix I to appendix II. What this means is that white rhino became a species that could be hunted and exported. In a nutshell, what this did was it increased the value of rhino and incentivised private land owners to buy them. Farmers in their droves sold off their domestic live stock and began ranching wildlife. Why because it had a value, not to the photographic industry but to the hunting industry. You may not agree with the ethics of it all but you cannot disagree that increasing a rhino population from the brink of extinction (437 in the 70’s) to in excess of 18,000 in 2010 is – and always will be – the greatest wildlife recovery success story there ever was. Interestingly enough, around the same period, both Kenya and South Africa shared very similar populations of wildlife and were estimated somewhere between 1,4 and 1,6 million head of game. In 1977 Kenya banned all consumptive use of wildlife (i.e hunting) which is about the same time South Africa implemented a controlled but full consumptive utilization model. If we compare the statistics between Kenya and South Africa it become clearly obvious which model was an overwhelming success. Over 3 decades, Kenya (sadly) lost 80 % of its wildlife while South Africa increased its game numbers from an estimated 1.4 million to in excess 20 million head of game!!Please don’t confuse hunting with poaching. The two diametrically opposed. Hunters don’t slaughter, yes they harvest a few animals each year but they do not slaughter. Poachers slaughter, kill and wound indiscriminately because they do not care about the future of our wildlife and are only interested in their ‘cut’ from the rhino horn or the ivory. Hunters care because they love and cherish wildlife (both fauna and flora) just as much as any other nature lover or wildlife enthusiast does. Hunters actually happen to understand the intricate balance poised between life and death and it is this deeper understanding which has saved South Africa’s wildlife end of story. Hunting saved Scotland’s red deer population and improved red deer genetics. Ted Turner saved the American bison by popularizing bison burgers and allowing the non-productive older animals to be hunted. There is no denying it that if we follow what Kenya did in 1977, South Africa -and Namibia for that matter – will witness, not a general decline in game numbers but rather a large scale decimation of our wildlife. What many people are not aware of is that, a large percentage of our wildlife exists on private land. If we remove the value of game animals by banning consumptive use (i.e hunting) then those landowners would have zero reasons to keep game on their properties any longer and would simply shoot it all off and revert to cattle or farming whatever other livestock was deemed suitable for that area. Currently, game species represent a better long term investment than any other domestic stock species alive today. Furthermore, many game farms and ranches are too small to be of any interest to the photographic / game viewing industry and so these establishments survive from income generated through balanced utilization from the sale of trophies, meat and live game capture. Wildlife ranchers (farmers in their own right) are no different to domestic stock farmers and the point is they need a reason to maintain wildlife species – be it Sable, Kudu or Rhino – on their land. Simply put, if the game species which exist on their land lose their value they will be replaced by a more lucrative option overnight. One must look at this from a non-emotional point of view and understand that we need to manage these animals accordingly. Wildlife is no different to domestic stock and can be classed as wild products of the land just as sheep and cattle are domestic products of the land. Anyway, I hope I have painted a more transparent picture of why we need to allow certain animals to be hunted and why hunting plays an integral part of wildlife conservation in both South Africa and Namibia.
    Reading for this misinformed:…/10.1371/journal.pone.0029332

  •… Hans Vermaak one of South Africas leading hunting conservationist and son of one of the first private landowners to introduce white rhino to private land. Hans contributes in excess of 5 million ZAR to conservation efforts each year. What do you contribute?

  • Japie Van Wyk

    Hunting is the single biggest contributar to the conservation and well being of the wildlife in Southern Africa. This alone should be enough explanation to why hunting an animal like this from time to time is necesary as it contributes to the efforts of saving the specie more than any other means or efforts of other organizations. In SA more wildlife today is in the hands of private owners than ever before or than in our Parks and mainly because of hunting.
    Conservation through utilization has been proven over and over!

  • Loraine Pretorius

    I think this is insane – how can you kill rhinos to save them – its the craziest thing I have ever heard. Why don’t these people who are willing to buy this permit at what ever price (with no morals whatsoever or compassion to say the least) why don’t they just donate this money. This is encouraging people to kill???
    Killing them is no solution whatsoever. I quote Ghadhi ” judge a nation by the way they treat their animals” Shame on you Ben Carter, shame on you. Totally unjustified and hope that if this goes through you will be able to sleep at night. Look into the eyes of that Rhino as you pull the trigger.

  • W

    Anyone else prepared to give Namibia Wildlife authority an unemcumbered $1m donation to aid conservation efforts?

    If not accept it as it is. Conservation costs money (as a result of consumerism) and the growing human population with its resource demands for agricultural land for food production is FAR more threatening to wildlife far more than a hunted rhino and the 100% of funds it makes available for conserving wildlife.

  • Alta Bryden

    From what I have seen in the reserves, a Rhino stands completely still to be observed by all that pass by. How can one think that this is a “hunt”. My understanding has always been that a “hunt” should be exciting and a challenge at the very least. Is killing a beautiful animal that is on the near extinct list now interpreted as a “hunt”?

    As for justifying that the funds from such an auction will be put to good use and that this was a well-thought out concept, really? Do you not think that the “Save the Rhino” population out there is big enough to replace any such funds that may be collected to save the animals instead of killing them? Perhaps they should think again as this would be the right thing to do.

  • Noble as it may seem, wanting to donate the proceeds of a rhino hunt towards presrving them, it seems rather strange. On the one hand they are admitting that the rhino is endangered and in need of saving, but on the other they plan to kill one. The aim is to save the rhino, but by hunting one there is one less. They are also buying in to the idea that hunted rhinos rather than live rhino have value. Wouldn’t a safari where the guests can walk and observe the rhino would be more appropriate.


    Well i hope they have a good warm feeling in their stomach when they pull that trigger, shame on you all – everything has a life and should be treated with dignity and trust.
    I am disgusted with you all.

    It is as plain as you can get that most of the poaching is by inside of the so called nature conservationst,
    you dont just walk into the pharmacy and get tranquillizer drugs or darts, wake up and hit hard within the ranks of the so called “rangers”, so sorry for those dedicated, hard working rangers who have to deal with this slaughter,we all know who is to blame, and now this – makes you want to give up on Africa, can we just not get it right?

  • Neil McDonald (Australia)

    so killing a near extinct creature is the only way of raising money is it?
    what a disgrace, and coming from an African nation that relies heavily on wildlife tourism.
    what kind of “hunter” (wildlife murderer) would want to kill a rhino for pleasure and actually pay to do it?
    what a sick world we live in.
    shame on Namibia and shame on any human being who would want to kill a magnificent creature and put its head on a wall.
    how sick and depraved have we become when an African nation auctions off hunting of highly endangered creatures.
    this is yet simply another endictment on the human race.
    shame on everyone concerned.

    • Graeme

      I agree and the big game hunter who will arive here to kill this magnificent animal will be a European or American who doesn’t have a rhino head on their wall yet. We really are a pathetic species.

  • LCF

    I hope somebody with lots of money and a soul wins this auction, and then does not make use of the hunting permit. Does somebody like that exist?


    Don’t forget ,ethical,committed hunters are real CONSERVATIONISTS.
    When the Parks Board here in South Africa had a processing plant for excess elephants in the Kruger National Park,the numbers were kept to the correct amount & the money generated from the canned meat,hide,tusks.etc.- nothing was wasted was used to manage the Park in an exemplary manner.


  • Ken Watkins

    Thankfully there are some comments from people who have knowledge of the real situation.
    The real culprit is CITES who whilst permitting hunting will not allow the sale of legally harvested Rhino horn (from Rhino who are still alive), by South Africa to raise money for conservation!
    Two faced springs to mind!
    Pity the Blue Finned Dolphin, which will soon be gone down the stomachs of the first world morons who run CITES..
    Perhaps one of the tree huggers would like to explain why they insisted on tearing down the fences between Kruger and Mozambique, which has directly lead to the bast increase in Rhino deaths

  • Graeme

    Its always interesting to listen to people justifying killing one animal to save many more …. The reasons vary from very scientific to the uneducated agreement of people who want to see the species thrive … I still don’t understand how its OK to kill something so that others can live. We would never apply this to the human race so why apply it to these animals. We are the reason that they need to be conserved and our solution is to kill some of them for the greater good. It really is pathetic.


      The smaller the game area ,the more management required. Take elephant as an example ,even if there were lions etc.(unlikely in a smaller reserve) their numbers would have to be controlled . Live transfer is an option but remember elephant are very destructive and Africa ,and it’s wild areas aren’t getting bigger.
      Culling and hunting are the preferred methods in this era (IF IT PAYS IT STAYS) This applies to a wide range of animals. — sustainable utilization — remember these are businesses as well.

  • Anthony Bass

    This maybe the best of avery sad way of doing it, but poisoning the horn should be done as a matter of EXTREME urgency over all of southern africa, and as a matter of fact, world wide.

  • Raoul Viret

    Put chemicals on the rhino horns that will kill the ignorant fools that consume it for whatever dumb reason. The biggest problem the world has is too many people. If we can reduce the population by killing off the criminals and the ignorant fools that support the poaching industry, then we will be protecting all species on the planet earth.
    P.S. Lets get rid of the trophy hunters too and those that organize and watch dog fights. Lets not forget corrupt government officials, Robert Mugabe, Julius Malema and traitors like Tony Ehrenreich!

  • Christine Rautenbach

    Perhaps the anti-hunting lobby will rethink their opinion if they could also benefit directly. Imagine a successful balance between scientifically considered, sustainable economic harvesting on the one hand and SA citizens’ access – entrance and accommodation – to our natural heritage by way of really affordable rates. When we also experience ‘ownership of’ our natural assets, and benefit directly we might change our stance. Communities around wilderness areas who already experience this benefit – e.g. as in Namibia, can proudly boast healthy growing populations, free from the economic poaching scourge currently evident in our own country.

  • Megan

    As if seal clubbing wasn’t bad enough, now Namibia must go show cruelty to another species… Sickening. How does killing a rhino to save rhinos make sense? Really Namibia you should be ashamed

  • Hennie

    I think the only solution to the problem is to make the penalty when caught extreme – since there is no death penalty, perhaps the old an eye for an eye might be the solution. Cut off whatever resembles the beautiful horn of the rhino!! I bet the poachers will think twice once word gets around!