The US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) has granted the first import permit for a black rhino in 33 years. The permit is being issued to an American hunter who shot a free-range black rhino in Namibia under that country’s CITES hunting quota for this species.
“The Service is to be commended for showing good judgment on this issue,” says John J. Jackson, III, of Conservation Force, who has represented the test permit applicant since 2009. “This is an important juncture in rhino conservation, when the continued increase of rhino poaching makes it all the more important to raise the funds necessary and incentivize the local people to conserve these animals. Namibia’s black rhino hunting program is a force for conservation, and US Fish and Wildlife has recognized that.”
The hunter reportedly paid out more than $200,000 to harvest one of Namibia’s five annual quota rhinos.
Black rhinos are on the endangered species list under Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which bans trade unless there are “exceptional circumstances.”