This weekend, upwards of 45,000 of the world's most passionate big-game hunters will descend on Downtown Dallas for the Dallas Safari Club's annual convention. Only one will walk away with permission from the Namibian government to kill an endangered black rhino.
As DSC Executive Director Ben Carter told us last fall, the auction is intended to help save the black rhino by funneling all proceeds -- expected to be in the high six figures -- into rhino conservation efforts.
A counterintuitive approach to the preservation of a species with an extant wild population of around 4,000, perhaps, but one that is accepted as dogma by many in the hunting community. Conservation requires money, after all, and the guys with guns are often the ones willing to spend it.
To the rest of the universe, however, the thought of gunning down a creature as rare and majestic as the black rhino is tantamount to murder.
Most of the opposition to this weekend's auction has come from people like Angela Antonisse-Oxley, who told The Dallas Morning News the hunt is "barbaric" and that she's recruiting opponents to attend a peaceful protest on Saturday.
A few, however, seem to have let their passion for preserving life get the best of them.
"I've had death threats on my family," Carter told the Associated Press. "We've had a number of death threats to our members and (threats about) what would happen if we sell the permit."
Katherine Chaumont, the FBI's local spokeswoman, said the agency is aware of the threats and is reviewing them. "If a violation of federal law is determined, additional action or investigation as necessary will take place."
Undeterred, Carter and the DSC are moving forward with the auction, albeit with heightened security. The long-term viability of the black rhino demands it.
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.
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