Plans to auction a rare permit that will allow a hunter to take down an endangered black rhino are drawing criticism from some conservationists, but the organizer says the fundraiser could bring in more than $1 million that will go toward protecting the species. The Dallas Safari Club earlier this month announced it would in January auction the permit, one of only five offered annually by Namibia and the first to be made available for purchase outside of that country. "This is advanced, state-of-the-art wildlife conservation and management techniques," explains John J. Jackson III.
"More than ridiculous," declares the president of the Humane Society. "You're going to help an endangered animal by killing an endangered member of that population?" But Jackson says the hunt will involve one of five older male black rhinos selected by a committee and approved by the Namibian government. They're ones that are incapable of reproducing and likely "troublemakers ... bad guys that are killing other rhinos. You end up eliminating that rhino and you actually increase the reproduction of the population." He adds that 100% of the proceeds will go to Namibia for the limited purpose of rhino conservation. An estimated 4,000 black rhinos remain in the wild, down from 70,000 in the 1960s. (Read more rhinoceros stories.)