Vieranas Safaris US hunter finally bags his black rhino in controversial conservation hunt
The Texas hunter, who bid $350 000 (about R3.9 million at R11.80/$) to kill a black rhinoceros in Namibia, has done the deed in the name of conservation. And he says he has no regrets.
Corey Knowlton,35, won the bid about 18 months ago, after the Dallas Safari Club auctioned off the permit issued by Namibia’s Ministry of Environment and Tourism - all in the name of conservation hunting.
Despite being heavily criticised for the hunt and even receiving death threats, Knowlton invited CNN along in order to document and show the world that he believes the science of conservation hunting works.
Africa Geographic reports Knowlton has spent the last year and a half preparing and planning the hunt that is being widely scrutinised by animal welfare groups around the world, with many still advocating that hunting of endangered species should be not be allowed.
Knowlton said he "wants the world to see that the hunt of such a majestic beast on the African continent is not the work of a bloodthirsty American hunter but a vital component of Namibia’s effort to save the animal from extinction
According to Knowlton, he believes he has done more to conserve the species by hunting a black rhino that is no longer contributing to the gene pool and endangering younger bulls with its aggressive behaviour.
"This is part of the science of conservation," said Knowlton.
Additionally the money paid by Knowlton to hunt the black rhino will be used in Namibia's anti-poaching efforts across the country.
This is why he believes he has done something good, to actually preserve the species.
According to the World Wild Life Foundation there are less than 5 000 black rhino left in the world.
Adding to the heated debate around trophy hunting and conservation hunting, the Zambian government has just recently lifted the country’s hunting ban of lions for the upcoming 2016/2017 season, while the hunting of leopards can start in the 2015/2016 season already.
Zambia’s Minister of Tourism and Arts, Jean Kapata cites the improvement of regulation surrounding the country’s hunting industry as the reason for the lifting of the ban, saying “safari hunting is profitable and good for wildlife, which can benefit all citizens if properly handled”