Once Upon a Time There Were Rhinos

Hang your heads in shame, patriots. The hunt is on. Remember my previous post about Corey Knowlton, America’s poster boy for wildlife conservation? Well, he’s finally gotten approval from the US Fish and Wildlife Service to bring back—as a trophy—the critically endangered black rhino he paid the Namibian government $350,000 to wipe off the face of the earth. It’s basically the US government giving him the thumbs up for helping to annihilate a species.

Of course Mr. Knowlton (so tough to type out his name, my fingers start to ball up into fists when I get halfway through) isn’t going to prance around in a black mask and black cape and tell you he’s a horrible, rotten, no-good villain. He’s still trying to desperately spin his bloodlust into some positive PR routine so that people will believe he’s actually helping the conservation efforts of the rhino. Uh huh. Killing to save lives, you say? Who would fall for such a ridiculously hypocritical stance? Oh, our government. I kid, I kid. Truth is our government wasn’t fooled by Knowlton at all, they were simply bought. Apparently hundreds of thousands of dollars can buy just about anything these days.  As if we didn’t know that already.

I know Knowlton says that the money he paid for the hunt is for aiding the anti-poaching and conservation efforts, but my original question still stands:  Why not just donate the money? I wish someone would slap him up side the head tap him on the shoulder and tell him his money is still good, even if he doesn’t kill something critically endangered just for the chance to hang its head on his wall.

click photo for info

click photo for some actual facts on the whole mess

Time for a Rant (Or, the Black Rhino Fiasco)

Tell me if this sounds like some backwards, contradictory, nonsensical craziness to you or if it’s just me that’s finding the following news story absurd.  The Namibian government, under intense pressure to save the ever dwindling and extremely endangered black rhino species, recently allowed the US-based Dallas Safari Club to launch an auction raising money for conservation efforts of the species.  Well, that sounds really nice, doesn’t it? Where can I donate? And what’s up for auction?

Oh, the prize…a hunting permit to kill a black rhino.  The critically endangered black rhino.

I rechecked what I wrote and there are no typos. The winner of the auction designed to save the black rhino from extinction gets a permit to kill a black rhino. Let’s just all take a minute to let that sink in. It’s like having a weight loss plan of doughnuts and bacon. Training for a marathon by smoking a pack of Marlboro Reds each day. Getting over a fear of clowns by watching IT. Nothing about this makes sense. If anyone actually thinks the money the government is receiving is purely for conservation efforts, they’ve got to be the most gullible suckers on the planet.

The safari group has said on record that the winner of the auction (a man who shelled out a whopping $350,000) doesn’t have to kill the rhino. He could just shoot it with a camera if he wants.  Of course we all know that’s not going to happen.  And the group is fine with the particular rhino they have in mind to kill because, according to them, it’s old and aggressive. My question is, aggressive to whom exactly? Is it roaming around a heavily populated metropolis goring people to death as they’re trying to get to work? No, it’s out in the grasslands of Africa away from people.  How is its aggression getting in the way of anything? I’m not sure anyone involved truly believes this rhino is a threat anyway.  Sounds more like a rationale to excuse horrific behavior perpetrated by a less than transparent government and a hunter who obviously has more money than he knows what to do with.

The winner himself said that he wants to be “intimate with a black rhino.” I don’t know what kind of childhood he had, but when I want to get “intimate” with something it rarely ever means—no, wait, it NEVER means—killing something. Is he really going to have deep, longing gazes into the rhino’s eyes late at night as he stares at its head mounted on the wall of his den? Is that going to stimulate some sort of spiritual connection that he’s been craving for all the years of his life? If so, he needs to be committed.

And to be honest, what kind of hunter is this guy? Rhinos happen to be one of the easiest things to kill. Their eyesight is crap so you can practically walk right up to them before they even know you’re there. Plus, it’s going to be a guided hunt which means he’s just going to be led to where the rhino is known to be and have it pointed out to him. Basically, this guy spent over a quarter of a million dollars to shoot a fish in a barrel.

The ironic part is that now Huffington Post is reporting that he’s been receiving death threats. Police officials and the FBI are working together to keep him safe. Does anyone see the irony here? I’m in no way hoping for ill things to befall this guy, but come on, how can he honestly still go through with this hunt after he himself is being hunted?  Shouldn’t there be some moment when the light bulb comes on above his head and he says, “Whoa, so wait. Killing something that doesn’t want to die is…not cool?”   Because the thing is, this “winner” could easily choose to be a part of the larger scope of life instead of its downfall.  He could recognize the farce the Namibian government and his precious hunt club are advocating for what it is, and try to save an animal. And there’s an amazingly easy way to accomplish that last part…simply don’t kill it!

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Click photo for info on the Black Rhino hunt