Michigan trophy hunter who paid $400K to hunt rare black rhino allowed to import its horns, skin and skull to U.S.
A Michigan man who shelled out $400,000 to hunt and kill a rare black rhinoceros in Africa last year will be allowed to import the animals skin, skull and horns to America.
Trophy hunter Chris Peyerk applied for a permit to bring the beast home last year, but was finally granted permission by the feds on Friday.
Peyerk paid big bucks to an anti-poaching program for permission to hunt the rhino — one of only 5,500 remaining in the wild — at Namibian National Park in May 2018.
Five black male rhinos a year can be legally killed by hunters willing to pay for the chance.
“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,” said Laury Parramore, a spokesperson for the Fish and Wildlife Service.
Federal law has previously barred hunters from bringing rhinos’ bodies back into the United States – but the regulations have been scaled back as the species population increased in recent years.
The Obama Administration issued three permits starting in 2013 and the Trump administration has so far approved two.
While the president has previously condemned big trophy hunting as a “horror show,” his sons, Eric and Donald Jr. are active participants in the pastime. His administration has also rolled back Obama-era restrictions on the import of endangered elephants and lions from several African countries.
Still, animal rights activists and organizations have voiced criticism over the permits.
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“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,” said Kitty Block, the head of the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International.
“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.”