There are only 4,880 black rhinos left in the world, and they are critically endangered. One of the trophy hunters, Michael Luzich, is managing partner at Luzich Partners, LLC, a Las Vegas-based investment firm. Mr. Luzich is a member of the National Rifle Association Golden Ring of Freedom, which requires a minimum donation of $1 million to the NRA to gain entry. He already killed a male rhino in Mangetti National Park in northeastern Namibia, even before he knew he would be able to import the trophy.
The other trophy hunter, Corey Knowlton, infamously "won" an auction, put on by Dallas Safari Club in January 2014, to hunt a black rhino in Namibia, for which he agreed to pay $350,000. Mr. Knowlton, a professional trophy hunter who sets up hunts for others and who appears on the Outdoor Channel show, Jim Shockey's The Professionals, stated that without the Service's issuance of the import permit he would not hunt the black rhino. Included in his import permit application materials was a grim report by a Mangetti spokesperson stating that Mr. Knowlton would be able to choose from two bulls, Bull C and Bull D, who were selected to be killed because they were "old."