Hunter who paid $350,000 to kill a black rhino defends his actions in face of backlash

Corey Knowlton has been identified as the winner of the Dallas Safari Club sponsored auction on Saturday and said he 'deeply cares' about animals

A hunter who paid $350,000 (£214,119) at an auction for a licence to hunt an endangered black rhino in Nambia has responded on Facebook to fierce criticism from animal rights campaigners and wildlife groups.

Corey Knowlton was named by fellow hunter Tom Opre as the man who placed the winning bid at the Dallas Safari Club  sponsored auction and describes himself as a ‘ hunter/conservationist’ on his Facebook page.

The club said it was auctioning the chance to hunt the animal to raise money for conservation efforts to protect the species.

According to his profile, Knowlton works as a hunting consultant for the Hunting Consortium website led by president Robert Kern, which provides up to date information on hunting and angling ‘adventures’ across the world.

The site offers trips to hunt animals including Russian bears, cape buffalos and elephants.

On his Facebook page, he wrote: “Thank you all for your comments about conservation and the current situation regarding the Black Rhino.

Knowlton posted this picture of himself with a bear on his Facebook page “I am considering all sides and concerns involved in this unique situation. Please don't rush to judgment with emotionally driven criticism towards individuals on either sides of this issue.

“I deeply care about all of the inhabitants of this planet and I am looking forward to more educated discussion regarding the ongoing conservation effort for the Black Rhino.”

Knowlton has also appeared on hunting television programmes such as Jim Shockey's The Professionals. It is not yet known if the licence was purchased for himself or for a client.

Ben Carter, executive director of the Safari Club, has defended the auction.

A picture of a ram believed to be from a hunting expedition He argued the rhino to be hunted is old, male and non-breeding and is likely to be targeted for removal anyway because it was becoming aggressive and threatening other wildlife.

But the auction was condemned by wildlife and animal rights groups, and the FBI earlier this week said it was investigating death threats against members of the club.

Officials from the Humane Society and the International Fund for Animal Welfare have said that while culling can be appropriate in abundant animal populations, all black rhinos should be protected, given their endangered status.

An image of a deer killed in Rockwell County Texas An estimated 4,000 black rhinos remain in the wild, down from 70,000 in the 1960s. Nearly 1,800 are in Namibia, according to the safari club.

Critics have also said any hunting of a rhino sends negative messages to the public. "This auction is telling the world that an American will pay anything to kill their species," Jeffrey Flocken, North American regional director of the Massachusetts-based IFAW, said.

"This is, in fact, making a spectacle of killing an endangered species."

Organisers had hoped to at least break the previous high bid for one of the permits in Namibia, which is 223,000 dollars (£135,000) and had said the amount could be as high as 1 million dollars (£606,000).

Protestors gather holding signs near the Dallas Convention Center where the Dallas Safari Club is holding it's weekend show and auction Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014, in Dallas The nation offers five permits each year, and the one auctioned was the first to be made available for purchase outside of Namibia.
 

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sheridan Maine: Finance Analyst

Circa £45,000-£50,000 + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ac...

Sheridan Maine: Accounts Assistant

£12 - £15 Hourly Rate: Sheridan Maine: Are you an experienced Accounts Assista...

Sheridan Maine: Financial Accountant

£150 - £190 Daily Rate: Sheridan Maine: One of London's leading water supplier...

Sheridan Maine: Portfolio Accountant

£30,000 - £35,000 Annual: Sheridan Maine: Are you a Management Accountant with...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor