A Tweet storm image reads, 'Killing is not conservation. Less than 5000 Black Rhinos remain in the wild. Trophy hunting is NOT the solution.' Photo: Black Rhino Rescue Project

By RANDY LEE LOFTIS
8 January 2014

(Dallas Morning News) – Two worlds collide this weekend when the Dallas Safari Club auctions a permit to kill an endangered black rhinoceros in Namibia.

In one world, a legal trophy hunt helps fund an African nation’s well-regarded conservation programs. That view says losing one aged male would not harm rhino populations and would probably help in the long run.

In another world, wealthy Americans engage in a vicious slaughter of a majestic but critically endangered creature. That view says claiming that killing an endangered animal might help its species is just bloodlust prettied up for public view.

“This particular animal is being hunted because he is old and unable to reproduce,” said Angela Antonisse-Oxley of Dallas, who is recruiting opponents to attend a peaceful protest on Saturday.

“It is barbaric to hunt and kill an animal merely for this reason.”

She said relocating the animal and promoting ecotourism are better options. Hundreds of others have said the same things online.

Ben Carter, the safari club’s executive director, said wildlife science supports the auction. That should convince even those who don’t like hunting, he said.

“When people learn the facts, while it may not be something they want to do, they get it,” he said.

The auction takes place during the club’s annual meeting — “the greatest hunters’ convention on the planet,” the group calls it — Thursday through Sunday. Venues are Dallas’ Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center and the adjacent Omni Dallas Hotel.

The convention is open to the public with an admission fee. The silent auction for the rhino permit closes Saturday. Similar permits in the past have drawn six-figure bids.

The protest’s Facebook page, the Black Rhino Rescue Project, launched Nov. 19. As of late Wednesday, 203 people had clicked that they would attend the protest and 336 had clicked maybe.

The page had 13,996 “likes.”

Antonisse-Oxley asked an often-heard question: Why not dollars without killing?

“These animals need money, not more bullets,” she said. [more]

2 sides lock horns as Dallas hunt club nears auction of permit to kill black rhino

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