Trump Administration Allows Trophy Hunter to Import Rare Black Rhino Remains

Black Rhino
Tony Karumba/AFP/ Getty Images

The Trump administration is allowing a Michigan trophy hunter to import the remains from his $400,000 rare black rhinoceros kill, according to recent reports.

Chris Peyerk applied for a permit from the Fish and Wildlife Service to import the remains– the horns, skin, and skull – of a rare black rhino he hunted in the Mangetti National Park last year, May 2018. He reportedly paid $400,000 to gain permission to hunt the endangered animal.

NBC News reports:

The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists black rhinos as a critically endangered species, with about 5,500 remaining in the wild. Nearly half of those are in Namibia, which is allowed under international convention to permit five male rhinos a year to be legally killed by hunters.

The specific subspecies Peyrek listed on his application, the south-western black rhinoceros, is listed as “vulnerable” by the IUCN, meaning it is at less threat of extinction than the rest of the species as a whole.

Kitty Block – President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States and CEO of Humane Society International – denounced the Trump administration’s decision.

“We urge our federal government to end this pay-to-slay scheme that delivers critically endangered rhino trophies to wealthy Americans while dealing a devastating blow to rhino conservation,” Block said.

She continued:

With fewer than 2,000 black rhinos left in Namibia – and with rhino poaching on the rise – now is the time to ensure that every living black rhino remains safe in the wild. While we cannot turn back the clock to save this animal, the Administration can stop the U.S. from further contributing to the demise of this species by refusing future import permits of black rhino trophies. Black rhinos must be off limits to trophy hunters.

Humane Society Legislative Fund President Sara Amundson also condemned the decision, accusing the Trump administration of issuing “another blow to wildlife protection by granting its third permit to import a critically endangered black rhino trophy.”

“If the executive branch is going to cater to special interests rather than protecting imperiled species, the Congress should pass legislation strictly prohibiting trophy imports of imperiled wildlife,” Amundson said.

The Trump administration is not the first to grant such permission. The Obama administration issued three permits, as NBC News noted:

For decades federal regulators issued no import permits for black rhinos, but as populations rebounded in Africa the Obama administration issued three starting in 2013. The Trump administration has issued another two.

A spokeswoman for the Fish and Wildlife Service defended the decision.

“Legal, well-regulated hunting as part of a sound management program can benefit the conservation of certain species by providing incentives to local communities to conserve the species and by putting much-needed revenue back into conservation,” Laury Parramore said, according to NBC News.


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