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DALLAS (AP) - A North Texas man who paid $350,000 for the right to hunt an endangered African black rhino said he's had to hire full-time security due to death threats after his name was leaked onto the Internet.
Corey Knowlton told Dallas television stations WFAA and KTVT that he won last week's Dallas Safari Club auction to hunt a black rhino in the African nation of Namibia. The club says the permit was auctioned to raise money for efforts to protect and conserve the species.
An estimated 4,000 black rhinos remain in the wild, and the auction drew critics who said all members of an endangered species deserve protection.
"I'm a hunter," Knowlton told WFAA. "I want to experience a black rhino. I want to be intimately involved with a black rhino. If I go over there and shoot it or not shoot it, it's beyond the point."
Knowlton lives in Royse City, about 30 miles outside Dallas, and leads international hunting trips for a Virginia-based company, The Hunting Consortium.
He told KTVT that threats made to organizers before the auction led the Safari Club to contact him and see if he would bid. Knowlton and a silent partner raised the money to make the bid, he said.
His name was posted on Facebook and then picked up by websites that publicized his involvement in the auction. He told KTVT that since then, he's feared for his family's safety.
"They're wanting to kill me," he said. "They're wanting to kill my children. They're wanting to skin us alive."
The club says the Namibian rhino in question is older, male and nonbreeding - and that the animal was likely to be targeted for removal anyway because it was becoming aggressive.
Knowlton said he believed the hunt would be managed well and that the money would go to save rhinos in the end.
Of critics who had written thousands of comments on his Facebook page and online, Knowlton said: "They don't know who I am. They don't know what I'm about. They don't even understand the process."
Knowlton did not return phone and email messages from The Associated Press.
Good. Then cancel the hunt.
It seems awfully counterproductive to auction off the chance to kill an animal they're trying to save... More power to the guy if he wants to do it. The issue I have is, WHY ALLOW THE HUNT TO BEGIN WITH??
Man needs to stop trying to "manage everything" for god sake...The rhino is a wind animal and living in the wild. So what if he's not breeding, some men over a certain age are not breeding or definitely shouldn't be. He aggressive, so what HE'S an animal. I hope this man is in such fear of his life, that he wont go on the safari
Why would anyone want to kill an innocent animal?
I get why people like to save endangered species but whatever happened to letting animals live in the wild and letting nature and animals do what they are supposed to do? If a species goes extinct, maybe there is a reason and its just nature taking its course. Before the human race started endangered species convservation efforts, did anyone really say "I wish that species wasn't extinct because MY life would be easier or better?" If the rhino was truly in the wild and not on a preserve (which yes I know it's intended to mimic the wild), how do we know what he would do? Maybe he would just go somewhere and die like lots of animals do when they are sick. That's nature, your born, grow, and die. Yes its sad things have to die but its nature and a part of life. I don't agree with hunting just for the sake of it. I think it's nice to have animals on the planet to humainly and safely experience. But let them be what they are, wild animals. Just my thoughts.
What a moron!! These idiots hide in the bushes and shoot from a mile away at unprotected species with a small cannon and they call it "hunting"! Real Mucho Man s..theads!!He says that people dont know him! Well we do know you moron! You are the idiot that paid over a quarter million dollars to shoot an unprotected animal because ....its old? I have no problem with hunting for food but this is just insane! They do the same for other animals such as lions, tigers ,cheetahs. Disgusting!
Agree totally. What is the next thing they are going to do - start auctioning off the right to kill senior citizens in this country because they are old, grumpy, can't remember anything, useless, and nobody wants them around?
I can see the result of this ill-thought-out 'fund raiser' allowing a defense in Namibia courts: "Local poachers argue that they only killed older, more aggressive male rhinos that seemed to be overly aggressive toward the females."
Ohhhhh.. so it's not only and OLD rhino, it's a BAD one too. Well now I feel a LOT better.
Its deplorable when you rent a jeep, hire a local guide to drive you near a massive animal, shoot it, do a selfie and drive off.
I hunt and eat what I kill, I prefer that over processed disgusting American wholesale supermarket meat. I despise trophy hunters. There is nothing empowering pulling a trigger and firing a bullet at an unsuspecting herbivore just to leave it for dead or take a horn. I would feel bad if his actions resulted in the harm of his family or children. However, I do not feel bad if the town hangs him and makes the video viral or if the Rhino gets him too.