2014 Dallas Safari Club Convention & Black Rhino Auction
February 2014, Volume 12-1

Though the Dallas Safari Club’s (DSC) auction of a permit to hunt a black rhino bull raised $350,000, the group had hoped the bidding would have climbed closer to the $1 million mark. The sale exceeded the previous record of $223,000 for a Namibian black rhino hunting permit. The auction which had the full support of the Namibian Government and conservation groups in Namibia, as well as of the IUCN Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group (SULi), but a concerted emotive campaign from certain wildlife and animal rights groups ahead of  the January 11thauction, which did not shy away using intimidation and threats against all those involved in the auction, including potential bidders, contributed to the final hammer price being far below expectations. Black rhino conservation programs in Namibia involving anti-poaching patrols, habitat protection and research will consequently have far lower funds available. The Humane Society and the International Fund for Animal Welfare were among the groups that spoke out against the hunt. Hanns-Louis Lamprecht, a Namibian, who attended the auction, said on Sunday, “I was so angry last night. A million dollars would have lasted years, years in the conservation efforts. … The fact is it could have been more — it could have been a lot more.” Chris Hudson, president-elect of Dallas Safari Club, said though the total was disappointing, the auction is beneficial for Namibia and that the Namibian minster was elated. “There’s no question in my mind that the negative publicity dissuaded some people from bidding,” Richard Cheatham, volunteer general counsel and former president of the Dallas Safari Club, said after the evnt.

An estimated 4,000 black rhinos remain in the wild, down from 70,000 in the 1960s. Nearly 1,800 are in Namibia, according to DSC. In recent years, Namibia has allotted five black rhino hunting permits per year and for the first time offered to have all of the proceeds go to conservation efforts. The black rhino chosen for the hunt will be an older bull that can no longer breed, which will make way for younger rhinos to breed, Dallas Safari Club spokesman Steve Wagner said. He said the animal was probably becoming aggressive and threatening to other wildlife and to younger black rhino bulls in particular.  Nevertheless, DSC’s Richard Cheatham said the 2014 DSC Convention was by far is the most successful convention ever from an attendance standpoint, from sales on the floor and energy on the floor and attendance was up 25 percent on Saturday compared with last year.

Author: Gerhard Damm