I just read this article about the Dallas Safari Club auctioning off a rhino hunt in order to raise funds for black rhino conservation. The money raised will go to the Conservation Trust Fund for Namibia's Black Rhino At first read, the idea seems at least a little absurd, but after reading the logic behind it, it all makes sense.
- The hunt they are auctioning off is for a very specific aggressive male rhino at the Mangetti National Park in Namibia. Because of the tendency of rhinos to fight to the death, getting rid of this male will help the population as a whole.
- This fundraiser will likely raise very large amounts of money (they are estimating between $250,000 and $1 million) that can then be put toward conservation of the species as a whole.
Conservation groups are opposed to it, claiming that instead of giving money to hunt a rhino, the very wealthy should just give money for rhino conservation (which I don't totally disagree with. But how often will people give money without getting something in return, even if it is just a token, such as that box of Girl Scout cookies or an NPR tote bag). And that it isn't sportsman like because rhinos really aren't that hard to kill.
Personally, I don't see a problem with it. Yes, if the group were just picking an arbitrary rhino to kill it would be a problematic fund raiser. However, since this is a rhino that is going to be culled anyway, raising money for other rhinos at the same time seems to be a win. And, if this is like a lot of other fundraisers I've been to, even the people that don't win will go "Well, here is a donation of at least a portion of the money I would have spent if I had won the hunt."