June 12, 2015

USFWS Says Sport Hunting Black Rhinos Benefits Conservation

Earlier this year, the OLR Reporter highlighted a debate over whether the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) should issue two special permits allowing the import of trophies of endangered black rhinoceroses that would be killed through sport hunting in Namibia. Supporters of the permits argue that this type of hunting helps fund conservation activities. Opponents believe other things can be done to protect the species. The USFWS received over 15,000 public comments on this matter.

The USFWS granted the permits, finding that the rhino import will benefit conservation. According to a March 26, 2015 USFWS press release, black rhino hunts are consistent with Namibia’s conservation strategy. The country’s black rhino population is increasing and sport hunts generate hundreds of thousands of dollars for wildlife conservation, anti-poaching efforts, and community development programs. Specifically, Namibia’s conservation strategy for its black rhino population focuses on maximizing population growth through biological management and range expansion. Each year, Namibia allows hunting five male rhinos that are believed to be genetically well-represented in the population. Hunting them may provide greater opportunity for younger, less dominant males. The strategy aims to yearly increase the population by at least 5%.

A May 19, 2015 CNN article describes the recent hunting experience of a hunter who received one of the USFWS permits.