A man from Texas has hunted and killed an endangered black rhino in Namibia after bidding $350,000 (£225,000) in an auction to win a hunting permit.
Corey Knowlton has faced intense criticism and death threats from animal-rights advocates since the auction last year, but he claims the hunt is an essential part of conservation work for saving black rhino populations in the African nation.
Local authorities in Namibia stipulated that the 36-year-old hunter from Dallas could kill only one of 18 rhinos that were designated as either being old or a threat to other black rhinos.
He said: 'The fact of the matter is, we raised $350,000 dollars for the black rhino. It's the most that's ever been raised and it's absolutely going to conservation.'
But several animal-welfare groups have strongly disagreed, saying conservation by killing is not a viable solution.
Large-scale poaching of the now critically endangered black rhino resulted in a dramatic 96% decline from 65,000 individuals in 1970 to just 2,300 in 1993. But thanks to conservation programmes across Africa, black rhino numbers have risen to a current population of around 5,000.
Rising demand for rhino horn from Asian countries has driven poaching to record levels. Some nations, including Vietnam, produce folk remedies that contain rhino horn.
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