Marie Saavedra, WFAA-TV, Dallas-Fort Worth
A man who paid $350,000 for the right to hunt an endangered African black rhino says he fears for his safety
DALLAS — A U.S. man who paid $350,000 for the right to hunt an endangered African black rhino says he fears for his safety.
Corey Knowlton said that after being revealed as the winner of a controversial Dallas Safari Club auction, he’s received death threats — so many that he says local law enforcement and the FBI are now working to keep them safe.
Knowlton, who has hunted around the world, said there has been a lot of anger and some confusion.
He leads expeditions for both everyday Joes and billionaires looking to hunt, and has been a fixture on The Outdoor Channel. His Facebook page is filled with photos of large deer he’s tracked and killed — wild boar, a bear, even a massive shark.
The Safari Club auctioned the permit to raise money for efforts to protect the black rhino.
Knowlton said his goal was to support conservation efforts for the black rhino. That’s where the money from his bid will go.
But critics feel that the chance to kill one is no kind of reward — and they’re letting him know it.
Still, Knowlton said the hunt is well-managed, and insists he will be targeting an aggressive older male that he says is terrorizing the rest of the herd, and would already be a target.
He said this is a challenge he welcomes.
“I’m a hunter. I want to experience a black rhino. I want to be intimately involved with a black rhino,” Knowlton said. “If I go over there and shoot it or not shoot it, it’s beyond the point.”
He said the death of this black rhino is inevitable.
“They are going to shoot those black rhinos … period. End of story,” he said.
Contributing: The Associated Press
Apr 20, 2015 — This video shows Rebecca Francis hunting the giraffe from the picture. Although she made a rebuttal to Ricky Gervais last week, the video shows just had deceptive she was being.
Professional hunter tracking a lion for American client crushed to death by young bull elephant in Zambezi Valley
By Peta Thornycroft, Johannesburg
17 Apr 2015
A young bull elephant killed professional hunter Ian Gibson early on Wednesday as he tracked a lion for an American client in a rugged part of north-east Zimbabwe.
Mr Gibson, 55, one of Zimbabwe’s best known big game hunters, died scouting for prey in the Zambezi Valley after a young bull elephant charged, then knelt on him and crushed him to death.
“We don’t yet know the full details of how ‘Gibbo’ as we called him, died, as the American client and the trackers are still too traumatised to give us full details,” said Paul Smith, managing director of Chifuti Safaris’ which employed Mr Gibson for the hunt.
The American hunter was on his first trip to Zimbabwe, and only has one leg, but was “fit and strong” and had already shot a leopard. Mr Gibson was scouting for lions when he encountered the elephant.
Mr Gibson’s trackers said the young bull had been in a musth period, which means it was producing much more testosterone then usual.
“We know ‘Gibbo’ shot it once, from about 10 yards away, with a 458 [rifle]. He would never have fired unless he had no alternative. He was a hunter, yes, but he was also a magnificent wildlife photographer and conservationist.
“He was so experienced and this is a most unexpected tragedy.” …
Mr Smith said the young bull elephant appeared not to be a natural target for any hunter as its tusks were too small.
“In most years someone is usually killed on a hunt somewhere in Africa, and that is why it is called ‘dangerous game hunting‘ but we are very shocked that it was ‘Gibbo’,” said Mr Smith.
Mr Gibson began his wildlife career in Zimbabwe’s department of national parks, but left to become a hunter about 25 years ago.
He was well-known in the US, where the Dallas Safari Club is paying his funeral expenses.
He’s just getting started. Ricky Gervais continued to slam hunters following his buzzed-about spat with Eye of the Hunter co-host Rebecca Francis. His new comments are in
“We need to stamp out this terrible sexism in the noble sport of trophy hunting,” he tweeted on Friday, April 17. “The men & women that do it are EQUALLY vile & worthless.” [except for the woman in the photo above–she hunts poachers.]
The British comedian-actor, 53, was appalled earlier this week when he saw a photo of Francis lying down – and smiling – next to a dead giraffe she just killed. “What must’ve happened to you in your life to make you want to kill a beautiful animal & then lie next to it smiling?” he wrote via Twitter on April 13.
Francis began to receive death threats following Gervais’ post, which has garnered over 30,000 retweets. On April 14, Francis released a statement saying she preserved the animal by providing locals with its meat. On Friday, she gave a second statement to Hunting Life.
“Ricky Gervais has used his power and influence to specifically target women in the hunting industry and has sparked thousands of people to call for my death, the death of my family and many other women who hunt,” she said, via The Telegraph. “This has evolved into an issue about the morality of threatening human lives over disagreeing with someone else’s beliefs. It shocks me that people who claim to be so loving and caring for animals can turn around and threaten to murder and rape my children.”
Gervais, however, doesn’t seem to be backing down. He’s continued to show his love for animals all week. “Enjoy the lovely weather and don’t leave your dog in the car. Have a great day,” he tweeted on April 17. On Friday, he gushed about his adorable “furry bagpipe” cats and snapped a selfie with his “new duck friends” near a lake.
DALLAS (AP) — The US government will allow a Texas man to import the trophy of an endangered black rhinoceros should he kill one in Africa as part of a conservation fundraiser.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service said Thursday that importing a carcass from Namibia meets criteria under the Endangered Species Act of benefiting conservation.…
Corey Knowlton bid $350,000 last year in a Dallas Safari Club auction billed as a fundraising effort to save the black rhino.
In a letter to the agency in December, the club’s executive director, Ben Carter, said the money raised from such auctions is “critical to supporting the Namibian government in their efforts to stem the tide of commercial killing of these animals.”
Since publishing the initial request in November, the US Fish and Wildlife Service received more than 15,000 comments, as well as petitions with about 152,000 signatures demanding that it be denied. PETA said Thursday that it will file a lawsuit.
The hunt was postponed and Knowlton’s money kept in escrow while the agency deliberated over the permit application.
Dallas Safari Club spokeswoman Jay Ann Cox could not immediately confirm Thursday whether a date has been set for the hunt.
The agency also is allowing Michael Luzich, a Las Vegas investment manager, to import his black rhino trophy. Namibia directly sold him a hunting permit.
Luzich has received far less scrutiny than Knowlton, who said last year he hired full-time security because he’d received death threats once his name became public knowledge.
The federal government in the US has confirmed that permission has been granted to Trophy hunter Corey Knowlton
Once again we are shown proof that money is power in the United States of America, with permission being granted to Trophy hunter Corey Knowlton to import the trophy of critically endangered black Rhino from Namibia for which he paid 350,000 dollars. This must be stopped before precedent is made and all wealthy people become entitled to be above international law.
Elk still range across parts of North America, but every hunting season brings a greater challenge to find the sought-after bull with a towering spread of antlers. Africa and Asia still have elephants, but Roosevelt would have regarded most of them as freaks, because they don’t have tusks. Researchers describe what’s happening as none other than the selection process that Darwin made famous: the fittest of a species survive to reproduce and pass along their traits to succeeding generations, while the traits of the unfit gradually disappear. Selective hunting—picking out individuals with the best horns or antlers, or the largest piece of hide—works in reverse: the evolutionary loser is not the small and defenseless, but the biggest and best-equipped to win mates or fend off attackers.
When hunting is severe enough to outstrip other threats to survival, the unsought, middling individuals make out better than the alpha animals, and the species changes. “Survival of the fittest” is still the rule, but the “fit” begin to look unlike what you might expect. And looks aren’t the only things changing: behavior adapts too, from how hunted animals act to how they reproduce. There’s nothing wrong with a species getting molded over time by new kinds of risk. But some experts believe problems arise when these changes make no evolutionary sense.
A panel of Minnesota lawmakers Wednesday told state wildlife officials they wanted to see more deer in the woods, especially up north.
A House committee hearing room served as the setting for what amounted to a stern talking-to by lawmakers echoing a refrain among many of the state’s half a million deer hunters: Deer populations in many areas have fallen unacceptably low, and the quality of a fall tradition is suffering.
“The deer hunters out there understand,” said Rep. Tom Hackbarth, R-Cedar, who chairs the Mining and Outdoor Recreation Policy Committee and is one of a number of deer hunters on the panel. “They go out there year after year. We know what’s going on, and we’re not seeing the deer. … What’s the problem? How did we get here? … I sat in the stand for five days and didn’t see a doe in the woods. We’ve got huge problems.”
Officials from the Department of Natural Resources got the message.
“Certainly, what we’ve heard is the harvest levels are unacceptable,” Steve Merchant, wildlife and populations manager for the DNR, told the committee.
When viewed over a century of data, the roughly 140,000 deer killed by hunters in the fall isn’t a small number. As recently as 1972, the deer population was so low that no hunting was allowed. But populations rebounded dramatically, and between 1990 and 2010, many years saw more than 200,000 deer taken.
However, the total harvest has fallen steadily since 2010. To protect the declining population, the DNR enacted strict regulations this fall, and the 2014 harvest was the lowest in two decades.
The state’s largest deer hunting advocacy group, the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, wants to see the harvest rebound to 225,000 by 2019, Craig Engwall, the group’s executive director, told lawmakers. “With conservative seasons and good weather, we think we can achieve that,” he said.
That number prompts unease among DNR officials, who for several years sought 200,000 as a “sweet spot” for the total harvest but say severe winters have suppressed the population. While DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr has publicly stated deer numbers should be allowed to increase in much of the state, the agency has blamed the back-to-back severe winters of 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 for populations plummeting in northern parts of the state.
Brooks Johnson, president of Minnesota Bowhunters Inc. and one of the DNR’s loudest critics, told lawmakers that DNR officials have “manipulated” data to justify a “hidden agenda” of shrinking the deer population beyond what was called for a decade ago, when concerns over an overabundance of deer prompted the state to loosen hunter rules to allow more animals to be shot. “Allowing the DNR to constantly alter numbers destroys all credibility moving forward,” Johnson said.
His allegations drew sharp skepticism from several lawmakers. Merchant and DNR Wildlife Section Chief Paul Telander said indeed the agency had wanted to swiftly reduce numbers in northern forests, where deer numbers had grown to levels where they were over-browsing on young trees and threatening to prevent the state from receiving accreditation for sustainable forest management.
It’s unclear whether legislation with wide support will emerge. Several lawmakers said they would support requiring the DNR to draft a statewide deer plan similar to its plans for ducks, pheasants, ruffed grouse and other game. Others suggested a wider “audit” of the way the DNR models deer populations, similar to a process Wisconsin underwent several years ago.
Other lawmakers said putting the DNR on the hot seat was all that was needed.
“I don’t think legislators know enough about wildlife to come up with legislation,” said Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Vernon Center. “I think the whole point was to put a fire under the DNR to tell them to get something done, and we did that.”