U.S. will allow Texas billionaire to import trophy of critically endangered black rhino he killed

By on September 20, 2018 with 43 Comments

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will allow an American trophy hunter who killed a critically endangered black rhino to import the animal’s body parts into the United States, in complete disregard for the precarious status of this species and despite overwhelming opposition from the American public.

FWS today approved the import permit for the black rhino trophy from Namibia – where rhino poaching has dramatically increased in recent years – even after thousands of members of the public weighed in during a 30-day public comment period, opposing the import. Ironically, the FWS action comes just two days before the world celebrates these unique animals on World Rhino Day this Saturday. Black rhinos are critically endangered, with fewer than 5,500 left in the wild, and just 1,946 left in Namibia. But for trophy hunters, the rarer the animal, the more valuable the trophy is, and the greater the prestige and thrill of killing it.

Two trophy hunting organizations, the Dallas Safari Club Foundation and Conservation Force, auctioned off the rhino hunt in December 2016 for $275,000. The auction was won by a Texas billionaire who hunted the animal on February 26, 2017, at the Veronica Game Lodge in Namibia. Conservation Force then filed the import permit application on April 12, 2017.

The granting of this permit is another example of how the FWS is increasingly catering to trophy hunting interests, and acting without any consideration for conserving some of the world’s most endangered and threatened animals. After the new administration took office last year, the FWS allowed the import of elephant and lion trophies from Zimbabwe – a decision we are opposing in court. The agency also established the International Wildlife Conservation Council, a body stocked with trophy hunters and firearms dealers, putting it in charge of federal wildlife policy decisions – another decision we’ve challenged in court. To top it all, the FWS, in July, announced its intention to gut protections afforded to all threatened and endangered species.

Over the years, the HSUS and Humane Society International have been instrumental in establishing key protections for commonly trophy-hunted species like lions, and we have petitions currently pending with FWS to maximize ESA protection for leopards and elephants. But increasingly, we find ourselves playing defense or protesting inaction from the government on important wildlife decisions.

In early 2017, the HSUS had filed a legal petition asking the FWS to list giraffes – another species who are finding themselves increasingly in the crosshairs of American trophy hunters – as endangered, thus restricting the import or interstate sale of giraffe trophies and products. However, the FWS has so far refused to act on our petition. So this week, the HSUS and HSI, along with our partners, notified the FWS and the Department of the Interior of our intent to file a lawsuit in federal court if the agency does not immediately respond to our petition.

Giraffe populations are facing precipitous declines – up to 40 percent over the last 30 years – due to poaching and habitat loss. These beautiful animals are targeted by U.S. trophy hunters at an alarming rate, with more than one giraffe trophy coming into American ports every day, on average. A recent HSUS undercover investigation clearly demonstrated the significant role the United States plays in the international and domestic commercial trade in giraffe bones and other parts.

By filing our intent to sue, we are making it clear to the FWS that we will not stand by and watch while they cater to a few wealthy trophy hunters who hunt rare and endangered animals abroad for the thrill of it and who do not represent or speak for a majority of Americans.

Polls show that more than 80 percent of Americans oppose trophy hunting of big game, and even President Trump has called trophy hunting a “horror show.” But in the current FWS, trophy hunters have found a willing partner, as these recent rollbacks of protections and now the granting of the black rhino permit indicates. It is time for the rest of America to stand strong against this bloodthirsty assault on the world’s wildlife by a privileged few. Let the FWS know that the proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service would weaken ESA regulations by making it harder to secure and maintain federal protections for imperiled species. The FWS and NMFS should keep existing ESA protections to save threatened and endangered animals from extinction.

Humane Society International, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative), Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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  1. Brenda says:

    Killing for pleasure, not because one is hungry, etc. , should be murder. We need stricter laws. How can we prevent more killings?

    • Wanda says:

      If we put a World Band on all Endangered Species.
      Hard to do, but if we stop sending Food and Money to other Countries until they agree to a Band we can Stop a lot of it.

      • JT says:

        You mean bann . Unless you are advocating sending a musical band to Zimbabwe. Good grief.

        • Harriet Forman says:

          B- Unfortunately we have a whitehouse and congress – note lowercase letters for both – that does not honor life! Donald Trump is hellbent on overturning just about everything President Obama put in place. The republican – again lowercase – congress’s so-called investigation about Kavanaugh’s infringement on women’s personal space is such a sham it makes me ashamed of my country and donald trump weighing in is ridiculous. Let’s do everything we can to alter the majority in Congress and in the WH, so women’s rights, minority rights, our wildlife, our democracy and our very Republic is once again safe.

          • Sue L. says:

            Well Said.
            Totally Agree with you.

          • Debrah H. Snider says:

            I wish there was a way to prevent anything political from appearing on my Facebook page. People obsessed with politics cannot stay on subject. This has noting to do with Kavanaugh!

          • Beverly Dalton says:

            Leave it to a liberal to blame Donald Trump. If you read the article you would have seen that this had been going on for 30 or 40 years. Nothing to do with Donald Trump. The H.S U.S. is trying to do something. What have you done?

        • Mary says:

          You didn’t get it right either it’s ban.Don’t be so quick to criticize or make fun of others.

        • Roisin says:

          And more good grief. Don’t you mean ban, not bann? 😂

        • Melissa says:

          You mean ban? 🙄

      • Page Gorman says:

        So you are going to starve innocent children because of dirty governments by banning the killing of endangered species. That is not the way to go about this. We are talking millionaires and billionaires who are getting special treatment. Let’s put an end to that

    • Mark Judge says:

      And don’t kid yourself. Many who say they are killing to feed the family are not. Those who killed cubs today in NJ (less than 9 months old) are a prime example. It’s for bragging rights, a photo of their child next to the cub the child killed, and maybe a bear blanket/rug for the baby in the family.

  2. Tammy Rathbun says:

    Trophy hunting should be banned on ALL animals–no matter how much money you have!! This is disgusting!!!

  3. Carol Gage says:

    Trophy hunting is reprehensible and trophy hunters are the lowest of the low. It’s totally unjustifiable on any level, but trophy hunting of endangered animals is its own kind of despicable. Hard to believe the FWS remains complicit in this kind of activity. Our country has hit yet a new low.

    • Sue L. says:

      Yes, totally Wrong that this is allowed. but money Talks, as always like trump, placing his “cronies” in charge, in stead of Scientists in the EPA, FWS, etc. etc. etc,.

      • Kathie H says:

        Our government doesn’t protect women’s rights, why would they give a damn about animals, much less endangered species. It’s cringe worthy for sure, but it’s true.

  4. Patricia Apa says:

    So sick of these animals suffering for greed.GOD IS WATCHING

    • Ken Leroy says:

      If you need to go there, please specify the god you are referring to.
      Venus ?
      Astarte ?
      The tree in my backyard ?

  5. Angela Grammatico says:

    These are endangered species and should never be hunted and never allowed in our country this must stop

  6. Nancy Heck says:

    There is no justification for trophy hunting – especially of endangered species. They have a right to live in peace just like we do.

  7. Rita Kelly says:

    Disgusting ! This MUST end !!

  8. Mark Bazzell says:

    Where is the president on this, he said it’s a horror show, then show your displeasure & make it not happen, it’s probably one of his friends. Total bs..

    • S eastin says:

      You have to ask? This ‘Texas billionaire’ is likely a friend of his. It’s well documented that trump’s family enjoys killing these animals – none of them show any desire for being responsible for the future and well- being of our planet and it’s inhabitants.

  9. Linea Anthony says:

    How do we stop this???

  10. Eric Evinczik says:

    The big question is who is the guy who shot the rhino and what businesses does he own

  11. Maria r moncivais says:

    Sick people!

  12. JT says:

    How many of you justly expressing outrage vote every election? Where do you think garbage comes from? Voters! Millions of people didn’t bother to vote and thus we have Trump. We all knew what he is and what he would do, yet an enormous chunk of the population sat on their couches. If you don’t vote, you share responsibility for the consequences.

  13. Christina Forsythe says:

    Reveal the identities of these wealthy American trophy hunters and boycott, write, slam their personalities- stay within the law but GET THEM.

    • Anne says:

      I agree.

      Most of these wealthy hunters are members of hunting organizations and they are likely the same members on the the US Interiors new Wildlife Council. It just takes a bit of online research to reveal their identities and what they do for work.

    • Flor Tome says:

      You can start with Trump and his brats.

  14. greg says:

    There is no trophy. Just the victim of an assassination.

  15. Terry Vickers says:

    I find the very idea of killing for fun to be so abhorrent. But we as humans have become so numb to killing. Another mass shooting? Gasp! Thoughts and prayers! Ho hum, on to the next headline. Hunters, whether trophy or not, claim to be ‘conservationists’. But would they still think that if they were pressing a shutter release instead of pulling a trigger? I think not. They only conserve so there will be animals to kill. I’ll never forget what my Dad told me when he hung up his hunting rifle – ‘I got tired of killing, I just couldn’t do it anymore’.

    • Brock N. Lee says:

      Terry – Fact: “conservation” is a marketing term hunting organizations adopted several years back. It’s well documented in the literature they send their members that they should now refer to trophy hunting as “conservation” as it rings better to the ear and sounds positive. There is an actual play-by-play spiel they give their members about how to talk about hunting to non-supporters of trophy hunting.

  16. Linnie Holley says:

    Please stop killing disappearing endangered species. Please use the resources to help them instead. Thank you.

  17. Judy Sujko says:

    This is disgusting and deplorable!! These hunters should not be allowed into those Countries and NEVER BE ALLOWED GUNS!! They are arrogant and ignorant of species that are at risk!! And should never be allowed to bring there Kills home!! What is the matter with these greedy and hateful people that could kill innocent animals in other Countries, that brag about it and mount and show them off!! It’s barbaric and inhumane!!! It should be stopped and they should never be allowed to carry hunting guns onboard outbound planes !!!

  18. Jane Tomaselli says:

    Money talks, bs walks!! Ofcourse they allow this. You are talking about crooked individuals on the take, all they care about are their souless selves and as far as aiding conservation don’t make me laugh with your tired excuses for killing.

  19. Christus says:

    Sadly that’s Trump’s America. The fish rots from the heard. Because of Trump America is no longer a world leader, but a country with a laughable president.

  20. David Bussell says:

    Name and shame , both the hunters and the heads of these so called organisations

  21. Mike McLean says:

    What’s amazing to me is that people are willing to prioritize the life of an animal far away over many many things in our own backyards.
    — What about all of the children that have to go to public schools in the inner cities? That’s a crying shame. Many of these schools are falling apart and are war zones. Fix this first, then worry about what happens in other countries.
    — Animal species have been dying off forever. When this one is gone it will make room for another.
    — Dont care about our children? How about a “super-mass” fixing of all dogs and cats in low income areas? This would take care of generations to come of dogs and cats that would have to have been euthanized.
    ‘Cut down on the “front end” (un-fixed) so the horrors of the “back end” (euthanasia)can be as close to eliminated as possible.’
    It will take a massive movement, unlike any that have ever been done.
    — So everybody on this site can complain about one animal here or two hundred animals there. However, what makes the lives of the few overseas animals more important than the struggle and hardships of those poor kittens just a few miles from your house? Or that of the dog that you see in the commercial that is chained up and has had no food nor water for some time?
    — In a real sense of pain and suffering, take care of those around you first. That is your duty in life. Clean your own house first. The beauty of it is it is something that CAN be accomplished.
    — Pets should almost be difficult to get ahold of. If they have ‘more value’ they will be treated as such.
    — Unless you have reason to have an “un-fixed” pet, they should be almost impossible to get ahold of. There is no reason for the average person to have a dog or cat that is able to breed. Why? If you do not intend to breed, why leave that option available?
    — Once the animal population is under control it would be wise to make a DNA map. Then when strays are found, the person responsible can be tracked down. They can pay the costs to fix the strays. Also, if there had been any abuse of the animals, they can “pay” for that as well. Animals are precious, treat them correctly.

  22. Chris Juban says:

    How many of those decrying trophy hunting eat meat or poultry or wear leather? How is it okay to kill cattle, hogs, goats and birds (among other animals) but not lions, elephant and giraffe? Is it okay to kill some animals and not others? If killing is the problem then where are the posts against factory farming? Or it is just certain animals (especially those with names) that have “rights” and thus deserve exalted status?

    What is the explanation for robust animal populations in areas of Africa in which hunting is well-regulated compared to declining animal populations in countries like Kenya where hunting and all other consumptive use of wildlife has been banned since the late 1970s?

    Lastly, there is a bullet proof way to stop the “billionaires” from hunting the next black rhino or whatever other hunt is put up for sale by a host government – dispense with the slacktivist moral outrage on the internet and just bid a few dollars more at the auction. Then everyone wins – the billionaire killers are defeated because their proposed quarry goes on to live for a while longer and the host government raises money for conservation.

  23. DAVID W TIERNEY says:

    The FWS should change their name to the Rich Peoples Service or RPS being . That they seem to cater to the Rich and or famous who spend thousands and thousands just for a beautiful animal. Who are they servicing when they give out these permits. It would not surprise me to hear that these idiots, who hand out the permits, are experiencing larger bank accounts from possible bribes by these rich jerks who feel the need to shoot a beautiful beast. It sickens me to no end when you hear of the devastation going on over seas. The sad thing is the people in those countries don’t receive any benefit from this insane “sport”. Actually it isn’t e even a sport. These jerks don’t hunt. They are brought to a certain place while a handler leads the animal out into the open and the jerk takes a shot. How is that a sport? The fools at the FWS should be investigated for possibly receiving those bribes. And if the Rich folk aren’t bribing the FWS then they might be bribing the politicians.

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