Dallas Safari Club, the big game hunting group that auctioned off a permit to kill an endangered black rhino in January, has wired a "donation" of $350,000 to the Namibian government. But the donation, it turns out, is contingent on whether the club obtains a permit from the U.S. government to import the animal's carcass as a trophy.
The Namibian obtained documents stating that the money -- $3.7 million in Namibian currency -- will only be wired to the country "upon granting of the import permit" from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), which is still pending. Animal advocates have petitioned USFWS not to grant the permit, saying that it encourages trophy hunting and sets the wrong precedent for conservation.
Ben Carter, the executive director of the Dallas Safari Club, defended the move by saying that the Namibian government will cull the rhino regardless, and that if the bid is withdrawn, the money won't go towards rhino conservation.
"A black rhino in Namibia is going to be hunted, period," he said. "It's a biological, practical necessity. The only question is how to make it as meaningful as possible from a financial standpoint to the larger issue of species survival."