The Quest to Save an Endangered Species
“Killing is not conservation!” That is the slogan on a pamphlet distributed at a protest in Texas against the Dallas Safari Club to stop the auction for a permit to kill a black rhino for sport. The Black Rhino was listed as an endangered species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1977. Although there has been a steady decline of hunting permits issued, there has been an increasing trend of “legal poaching” according to Buffalo Law School Associate Professor Jessica Owley in an article published in the Akron Law Review in October of 2013. The article titled The Increasing Privatization of Environmental Permitting states:
“Through conservation easements and mitigation banks, private businesses and nonprofit organizations have taken on the responsibilities of monitoring and enforcing environmental permits.”
The protesters in attendance would classify The Dallas Safari Club as one such private organization. The Dallas Safari Club and organizations like them maintain they are killing this rhino in the spirit of conservation. To that end, in November of 2009, an amendment was issued allowing permits for the killing and export of no more than five male black rhinos from Namibia (where the current hunt will take place) and South Africa. This has allowed auctions of this kind to take place all over the world. Conservationists maintain that the black rhino is still endangered due to poaching but Namibia claims poaching has not affected its black rhino population. Protesters have offered up solutions to what they call canned trophy hunting: Eco-Tourism. Eco-Tourism is not a new term or solution and has been on the upswing in recent years. For this instance, the protesters suggest photo safaris would actually make more money for African nations as well as other nations with an endangered species list. No matter what side of the issue people reside, the debate over the killing of rare and often endangered species will rage on.