The man who paid $350,000 for a permit to hunt an endangered black rhino now says he fears for his survival.
The hunter, Corey Knowlton, won the permit in a Dallas Safari Club Auction. But after news broke that he paid such an extreme amount of money to hunt an endangered animal, the public’s reaction was overwhelmingly negative. Knowlton told USA Today that he’s received death threats from all across the country. Local law enforcement agencies and the FBI are now working to protect him.
"If I sound emotional, it's because I have people threatening my kids," Knowlton told Piers Morgan in a recent interview. "It's because I have people threatening to kill me right now [that] I'm having to talk to the FBI and have private security to keep my children from being skinned alive and shot at."
The hunting permit was made available to the Dallas Safari Club by the Namibian government. While people across the country accuse Knowlton of the barbarous act of killing an endangered species, he claims the criticism is all due to a lack of understanding. His permit is to kill one of a handful of rhinos that the Namibian government has approved to be hunted. The approved rhinos are old, no longer capable of breeding, and often fight younger members of the species.
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Knowlton says the threat to healthy rhinos often comes from the elderly rhinos that he is looking to hunt.
"One of the other ear-tagged killer rhinos is going to injure it. And then either lions or hyenas are going to drag it down. It's going to die [in] a horrible manner, slowly,” Knowlton said (in slightly dramatic fashion).
"As much as I would love them all to live forever, they are going to die," Knowlton added. "The older males are killing each other, and something has to be done about it."
The International Union for Conservative of Nature supports the rhino permit released to Knowlton.
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The union recently said that "trophy hunting is a fundamental pillar of Namibia's conservation approach and instrumental in its success." They added that "well-managed recreational hunting and trophy hunting" have helped in "stimulating population increases for rhino."