Auction of rhino-hunting trip irks U.S. animal-rights activists

Jan. 11, 2014 at 12:58 PM

DALLAS, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- A Texas hunting club says its auction of an African safari to stalk the rare black rhinoceros could actually help the species.

Animal rights activists are up in arms over the Dallas Safari Club's auction; however, the club has said the planned hunt in South Africa was based on sound wildlife management practices.

"There is a biological reason for this hunt, and it's based on a fundamental premise of modern wildlife management: populations matter; individuals don't," club Executive Director Ben Carter said in a statement released in October. "By removing counterproductive individuals from a herd, rhino populations can actually grow."

It was unclear Saturday what benefit the taking of a single animal might provide for black rhinos in the wild, which ABC News said numbered around 5,055. The Safari Club said the winning bid, which could be as much as $1 million, would be donated to an African conservation organization.

The safari package is valued at $28,000 and includes a hunting permit.

Animal activists countered that hunting was not a particularly productive means of supporting an endangered species and vowed to protest the auction at the Safari Club's annual meeting this weekend.

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