Corey Knowlton has a problem.
The Royse City hunter, who paid $350,000 in a Dallas Safari Club auction for the right to kill a black rhino in Namibia, may not receive a permit to bring his trophy back from Africa.
As Eric Nicholson first reported for Unfair Park in October 2013, the reasoning behind issuing Knowlton's permit had a certain logic. Namibia allows for up to five post-reproductive-age male rhinos to be killed for sport each year to raise money for black rhino conservation. It's state-sponsored creative species destruction, if you will.
As things stand, Knowlton's quest to bag one of the majestic creatures is, ahem, endangered. In order for a hunter to bring back a dead member of an endangered species as a trophy, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service must issue a permit. Knowlton has applied for such a permit, according to the USFWS.
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"The applicant requests a permit to import the sport-hunted trophy of one male black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) taken from the wild in Namibia, for the purpose of enhancement of the survival of the species," it says.
Public comment regarding the potential permit is being taken until December 8. In order to view the comments being made, the USFWS requires you visit their Branch of Permits in Falls Church, Virginia. That's a bit far away to verify that some people think killing a member of a species of which fewer than 5,000 remain for fun is wrong. Meanwhile, a Change.org petition started to encourage the USFWS to deny the permit has received a ton of support.
Despite only receiving its 50,000th signature on Sunday, the petition has, as of this writing, 62,713 supporters. Once it reaches 85,000 names, the petition will be sent to the USFWS.
Joy Benson, the woman who started the position, writes: "It made me sick to read that this guy wants to go to Africa to kill this endangered species as a way to 'be intimately involved with a black rhino.' This is like Noah's Ark in reverse."