Rhino files: Over 26 rhinos poached in 2014
Updated | By Bronwyn Hardick
The rhino poaching count in 2014 is at over 26 so far.
2013 ended on a total of 946 rhinos poached in South Africa for their horns.
Rhino hunting permit fetches $350 000 & causes outrage
A permit to hunt an endangered African black rhino sold on Saturday night for $350 000 (R3.7m) at a Dallas auction held to raise money for conservation efforts, but criticised by wildlife advocates. Steve Wagner, a spokesperson for the Dallas Safari Club, which sponsored the closed-door event, confirmed the sale of the permit for a hunt in Namibia but declined to name the buyer.
Ben Carter, executive director of the Safari Club, has defended the auction. He said all money raised will go toward protecting the species. He also said the rhino that the winner will be allowed to hunt is old, male and non-breeding - and that the animal was likely to be targeted for removal anyway because it was becoming aggressive and threatening other wildlife.
But the auction has caused widespread outrage and anger from critics, including wildlife and animal rights groups, and the FBI last week said it was investigating death threats against members of the club.
Officials from the Humane Society and the International Fund for Animal Welfare have said that while culling can be appropriate in abundant animal populations, all black rhinos should be protected, given their endangered status.
An estimated 4 000 black rhinos remain in the wild, down from 70 000 in the 1960s. Nearly 1 800 are in Namibia, according to the safari club.
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