Controversial hunts for three different rhinos to be offered this year.
Namibia once again this year is making headlines as they are planning to once again offer opportunities for hunters to take black rhinos.
A single license was auctioned off for $350,000 to Texas hunter Corey Knowlton last year. You can see parts of that hunt in John McAdams’ story here. There was heavy criticism of Knowlton and the Namibian government for the decision to hunt one of the critically-endangered animals.
This year, the Namibian government is auctioning three chances at a black rhino license. They’ve offered selective licenses every year since 2012. The Telegraph reports these hunts are for specific rhinos that are selected because they may be threats to other rhinos and are also do not breed anymore.
On Kowlton’s hunt, there were government officials along for the hunt to monitor and make sure the wrong animal was not killed.
“We feel we are doing the right thing,” Namibia environment ministry spokesman Romeo Muyunda told reporters. “As a country, we have our own legislation and we are not doing anything contrary to any law. As a matter of fact, our constitution allows us to empower our own people.”
Namibia announced the licenses would be available last Friday. The season for black rhinos is expected to run through November. Officials are hoping for less critical response this year, although that may be hard after last year. Inflammatory headlines about trophy hunting in Africa became much the norm throughout the summer and into the fall after the world-wide controversy over the “Cecil the Lion” hunt.
Namibia doesn’t seem bothered by the controversy. The country has long defended the hunts they have offered, saying the funds collected combat poaching and help with different conservation projects.
“We are hoping to get enough money from this auction but we also do not want it to be controversial like in the past,” Muyunda told reporters.