That Black Rhino is Still Alive

It is not too late. Although the Dallas Safari Club did not heed the request of thousands of conservation minded individuals to cease its auction of a permit to kill a black rhino in Namibia, that Black Rhino is still alive. And we can still do something to stop it.

The “winning” bidder hasn’t boarded a plane yet, the rhino hasn’t been escorted into a fenced in area to be unceremoniously shot, its head hasn’t been removed to be dried and stuffed and mounted on a wall, or – more likely – its horn hasn’t been removed yet to be sold for the same price or higher as the $350,000 bid.

The contradictory message and the dangerous precedent being set by the Dallas Safari Club and the Namibian government needs to be stopped before it becomes a fait accompli. There are other ways to raise money for conservation efforts and other places where an aging rhino can continue to captivate and educate the public while contributing to the Namibian economy.

We cannot let this recent absurdity fade into the background – instead it is a catalyst for a call to real action. We call on the Dallas Safari Club to reverse its auction while donating the same amount generated through the auction to Namibian conservation efforts, we call on the Namibian government to protect all of its rhinos, we call on the winning bidder to not use this permit, and we call on us all to work together to stop the illegal poaching of rhinos around the world, including the locals who assist with these horrific acts, the countries through which these horns are smuggled, the practitioners who distribute rhino horn “medicine”, the misguided consumers of rhino horn powder, and especially the conservation minded who know this is a global responsibility.

These are all achievable, but only if we keep the pressure up on members of the Dallas Safari Club and the Namibian government, while continuing to raise awareness about this global crisis and working to develop economic development  in the affected countries. These rhinos are worth more alive than dead – not just because of their value to ecosystems but also in the tourism dollars they can generate.

For years, we have lamented about the decline of the rhino population in Africa. This is a decline that, if it continues, will lead to the extinction of all rhinos in the wild in our lifetimes, and it will be caused entirely by our actions – and by our lack of action.

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