American hunter who shot rare black rhino in Namibia wants to take it home

By Kelly McLaughlin

AN American man who agreed to pay $400,000 (R6 million) to kill a rare black rhinoceros while on a trophy hunt in Africa is hoping to take the animal’s remains back to his home in Michigan.

The Humane Society of the United States said in a statement that the US Fish and Wildlife Service is planning to grant Chris Peyerk, a businessman from Shelby Township, Michigan, a permit to take back the body of the rhino, which he killed in 2018 at Mangetti National Park, in the Okavango District of Namibia. Peyerk wants to import the skin, skull, and horns of the rhino.

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He had agreed to pay $400,000 (N$6 million) to a Namibian government fund if he received the permit. The fund is for wildlife management, conservation, and real development in Namibia, according to the Associated Press.

There are only about 5,500 remaining black rhinos in the wild, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the animal as critically endangered. The number of wild black rhinos has been increasing in recent years due to stricter conservation laws, but many are still poached every year.

It is illegal to import engaged animals into the United States because of the Endangered Species Act, and hunters have to be issued permits to do so. Peyerk applied for the permit last year.

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If the permit is granted, it will be the sixth of its kind since 2013, and the third of its kind under the Trump administration.

Though US President Donald Trump has called trophy hunting a “horror show,” his adult sons are avid big-game hunters. A spokesperson for America’s Fish and Wildlife Service defended permit-issuing to AP.

“Legal, well-regulated hunting as part of a sound management programme can benefit the conservation of certain species by providing incentives to local communities to conserve the species and by putting much-needed revenue back into conservation,” she said.

Kitty Block, president of the Humane Society of the United States, urged the government to “end this pay-to-slay scheme that delivers critically endangered rhino trophies to wealthy Americans” in a statement published on the organisation’s website.

“With fewer than 2,000 black rhinos left in Namibia – and with rhino poaching on the rise – now is the time to ensure that every living black rhino remains safe in the wild. … Black rhinos must be off limits to trophy hunters,” she said.

– Business Insider