Namibia defends black rhino hunt

January 10, 2014
A rhino in the Etosha National park, Namibia on March 4, 2007

Namibia wildlife authorities on Friday defended the auction of permits to hunt black rhino, saying the kill was aimed at conserving the endangered species.

The auction conducted in the United States by The Dallas Safari Club is part of a government approved annual quota, in place since 2012. It gives permission for the killing of five black rhino per year.

"We have been confronted by individuals and organisations who express their dissatisfaction about the programme... They sometimes think that we do things randomly," said Deputy Environment Minister Pohamba Shifeta.

"People should not be worried, we have a programme and policies that we are following."

Shifeta said the auction which ends on Saturday will be followed by a hunt at a national park in the semi-desert southern African country that has a black rhino population of nearly 1,800.

Dallas Safari Club director Ben Carter said he has received more than a dozen e-mailed death threats against his family and members of his staff.

"It is some pretty crazy stuff," he told NBC News.

"A number of the emails said, 'For every rhino you kill, we will kill a member of the club'."

The Texas-based club sought help from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which told AFP it is taking the threats "seriously."

"If something is found to violate (federal) law we'll conduct additional investigation as needed," said Katherine Chaumont, spokeswoman for the FBI's Dallas office.

"But certainly local police could have jurisdiction as well."

The safari club expects the auction to generate $250,000-$1 million and that the funds will be used for rhino conservation efforts.

Carter defended the hunt in a press release last week in which he insisted that it will help increase the size of the herd by removing an old "post-breeding" male which is "known to kill younger bulls, cows and even calves."

Namibia says proceeds from the hunt which has drawn widespread criticism from wildlife groups will go to a conservation fund.

"We have never experienced a reduction of rhinos, in fact, the number has increased," Shifeta said.

Namibia is less affected by rhino poaching compared with its neighbour, South Africa, with only 10 killed since 2006, according to the international wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic.

Across the border in South Africa, rhino poaching has reached crisis levels, with nearly a thousand killed in 2012.

Black rhinoceroses are internationally considered an and the World Wildlife Fund says there are less than 5,000 rhino remaining in Africa.

The Namibian government also grants licences for the hunting of big game like elephant and lion.

Explore further: South Africa rhino poaching toll jumps to 633

Related Stories

South Africa rhino poaching toll jumps to 633

December 19, 2012

At least 633 rhinos have been killed in South Africa this year, a record toll as demand for their horns continues to surge on the black market in Asia, the government said Wednesday.

US bars sale, trade of white rhino horns

September 10, 2013

The last remaining species of rhinoceros that is not endangered will receive new US protection due to an intensifying poaching crisis, federal wildlife officials said Tuesday.

Recommended for you

Study finds 'rudimentary' empathy in macaques

December 1, 2015

(—A pair of researchers with Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and Université Lyon, in France has conducted a study that has shown that macaques have at least some degree of empathy towards their fellow ...

Scientists overcome key CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing hurdle

December 1, 2015

Researchers at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT have engineered changes to the revolutionary CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing system that significantly cut down on "off-target" ...

Trap-jaw ants exhibit previously unseen jumping behavior

December 1, 2015

A species of trap-jaw ant has been found to exhibit a previously unseen jumping behavior, using its legs rather than its powerful jaws. The discovery makes this species, Odontomachus rixosus, the only species of ant that ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.