Nearly 18 months, $350,000, and countless death threats after buying a rhino tag auctioned off by the Dallas Safari Club, Corey Knowlton has finally harvested his black rhino in Namibia.
After three days of hard hunting in northern Namibia, Corey Knowlton legally harvested a black rhino on May 18, 2015. Though the hunt is now complete, there will likely still be an interesting road ahead for Mr. Knowlton.
There are few figures in the hunting community as polarizing as Corey Knowlton these days. He became vilified all over the world, especially in anti-hunting circles, after purchasing a tag auctioned off by the Namibian government through the Dallas Safari Club to legally hunt an endangered black rhino in January of 2014.
Especially with all of the publicity surrounding rhino poaching in Africa, combined with the fact that black rhinos are an endangered species, it is not surprising that Mr. Knowlton drew so much fire for purchasing the rhino tag. However, despite the emotional response by many in the anti-hunting community to his hunt, Knowlton contends that the hunt is actually beneficial to rhino populations in general.
CNN was invited on the hunt, which can be viewed in the video below.
Though it may sound counter-intuitive that hunting and killing a rhino could be beneficial to the rhino population as a whole, he actually has a point. The rhino tag that he purchased was for a single rhino from a specific group of four selected by the Namibian government.
All four black rhinos in this group were older males who were past breeding age. Additionally, black rhinos in general (which are much more aggressive than their white rhino cousins), and older males in particular, are known for being extremely aggressive and territorial. All of the rhinos on this list were ones that were known to have killed other black rhinos in territorial disputes.
With these facts in mind, it should not be too much of a stretch to make the connection that not hunting this rhino would at best, have no discernible impact on the black rhino population in Namibia (since it was past breeding age), and at worst, actually hurt the rhino population there.
Additionally, the $350,000 that Knowlton paid for this rhino tag is a significant contribution to conservation efforts in Namibia and will help the government continue to protect the remaining rhinos. There are many skilled and dedicated game rangers in Africa, but they aren't free. $350,000 goes a long way towards hiring, training, and equipping game rangers to protect rhinos and other endangered species in Namibia.
Had Corey Knowlton not gone on this hunt, this rhino would have died within the next few months or years anyway, perhaps as the victim of the horn from another rhino. The scavengers would have picked his bones clean and the Namibian government would not have gotten a single cent for conservation out of it.
By the way, this hunt was conducted under the direct supervision of the Namibian government and a game ranger verified that the rhino that Corey Knowlton ended up shooting with his .500 Nitro Express double rifle was indeed one of the four rhinos on the approved list.
You don't have to love what he did, but Corey Knowlton's successful black rhino hunt was a major success for rhino conservation efforts in Africa.