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Texas hunting group offers to save endangered rhinos by auctioning off permit to kill one

Oct. 12, 2010: Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) wardens insert a transmitter on a tranquillised male black rhinoceros for translocation at the Lake Nakuru National park in Kenya's Rift Valley, 99 miles west of the capital Nairobi. After implanting radio transmitters into the horns to track the animals, and notching their ears, KWS is translocating 10 black rhinos to the Tsavo National Park, southeast of Nairobi, to re-establish the population.Reuters

Save the rhinos… but get to kill one first.

That’s the sales pitch of a Texas hunting group that’s auctioning off a special permit to hunt an endangered black rhino in Namibia, with proceeds going to rhino conservation efforts.

“This fundraiser is the first of its kind for an endangered species and it’s going to generate a sum of money large enough to be enormously meaningful in Namibia’s fight to ensure the future of its black rhino populations,” Dallas Safari Club Executive Director Ben Carter said in a press release posted on the group’s website.

Carter told NBC 5 that he expected the auction, which is to take place at the group’s annual convention and expo in early January, to fetch between $250,000 and $1 million.

The group says it was selected by the Government of the Republic of Namibia to auction off the permit, and the rhino that is hunted will be allowed to be imported as a trophy into the U.S. in 2014, with full cooperation from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“The winning bidder may hire his or her qualified outfitter or guide to lead the hunt [inside Mangetti National Park], which will be accompanied by Namibian wildlife officials,” the club said in the press release.

There are an estimated 5,000 black rhinos left in the wild, NBC 5 reports. But not everyone thinks the auction is a good idea.

"It seems counterintuitive to sell the ability to shoot an animal as a means to save a species," Rita Beving Griggs, a Dallas-based representative of the Sierra Club, told NBC 5.

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