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Texas rhino hunt auction winner fears for his safety

Black Rhino Auction Winner Receiving Death Threats

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.

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stgeobermu January 19 2014 at 7:40 PM

So this thrill-killer fears for his life? How ironic. Now he knows how every one of the animals he slaughtered must have felt in the seconds before he blew them away. Those pictures of him with his trophies make me sick, especially the one with the bighorn sheep. What noble cause was his excuse for taking that beautiful creature's life? He's just like Donald Trump's cowardly sons who went to Africa to shoot elephants. Ditto the CEO of GoDaddy, who shot an innocent female elephant but claimed he was hunting down a mean old bull elephant that was stepping on villagers' crops. All of these bloodthirsty cowards are the same : gutless.

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mikeysmama January 18 2014 at 12:20 PM

Hunting te blek rhino es mkay eif et es foe un geod purpoise. En te end, te blek rhino will be saved bye ones ho es hunting tem. Eif te blek rhino is old y non-breading, tan its mkay foe te same peoples hunting tem to save tem from geoing extincto. No ones should get death threats foe tat. For eif we do, are we not diffrent tan tose hunting te blek rhino? Agree o disagree, te peoples aintint mass slaughtering rhinos. In both cases, both aarguement is correct y wrong. It is wat happens en te future foe te blek rhino. Maybe this sparks an era of saving te blek rhino and bringing et's species back into te world.

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mikeysmama January 18 2014 at 12:09 PM

That is sweg

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racjaa January 18 2014 at 9:20 AM

This isnt a hunt, This is an execution. and disgusting

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3 replies to racjaa's comment
Jay January 18 2014 at 9:05 AM

I do not think anyone has the right to take the life of one of Gods creature unless you are going to eat it. As Rhino meat is not on any menu in the world I do not feel any sympathy for this man. What I would like to know is what he will tell his kids 10 years from now when no rhinos are alive anywhere and they see a stuffed head mounted on his wall.

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intrepidad January 18 2014 at 9:33 AM

You have then never tried rhino rib eye steak medium rare. It is a delicacy.

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streamstalker4 January 18 2014 at 10:22 AM

I suspect the local villagers will eat this. I don't see Pronghorn antelope or carabou on menu's either but they're delicous. Hell, I've had mountain lion, tastes good but kinda tough- best to do it in a pressure cooker for stew. I
Oh, and don't try to eat a **** or jack rabbit, can't be done.

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streamstalker4 January 18 2014 at 8:34 AM


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josephyannuzzi January 18 2014 at 8:30 AM

The two main reasons for extinction of species, was over hunting and habitat destruction, thus that is why the Endangered Species Act was formed. Killing that Rhino is much more destructive to that herd than letting him live out his life. Nature is the best wildlife manager, not man.

The cause of so many of our environmental and wildlife problems today is the interference of man based on monetary gains, not real wildlife science. As a result, hunting violates every sound principle of ecology and should be abolished to the dustbins of history!

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3 replies to josephyannuzzi's comment
fcollinshughes January 18 2014 at 8:27 AM

Bring on the unarmed left wing nut bags who are making the fake death threats. Sniveling little whimps cowering behind a computer

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maggiejwl January 18 2014 at 8:26 AM

Don't be stupid. Rhinos, elephants, lions - even domestic cattle are often put down - most often by rifle shots - when they become old and infirm, or aggressive. The same as taking an old, suffering dog or cat to the vet for euthanasia. The conservation entities in place to protect and maintain the exsisting animals have expenses to pay - guardians to protect animals from poachers fisrt among them. $350K to remove an animal who was going to be removed in any case is going to go a long ways toward those expenses. Maybe the conservation societies should just quit hiring guards and protectors and let the poachers kill every animal in Africa. Or maybe some of you bleeding hearts will just send them $350K to call off the hunt.

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1 reply to maggiejwl's comment
Jay January 18 2014 at 9:13 AM

I agree with you but in this case this animal is what a zoo was made for. Also in this case there are just not that many of them left alive. I think the creature would be better served by allowing people to see him. And if it is money that is the issure our government gives billions away to useless countries and causes. Why not do something worthwhile and funding the rhinos. Certainly it is money better sent than on some sewer in Afghanistan or giving the Israelis more to waste.

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stormmlovr January 18 2014 at 8:18 AM

** I want to experience a black rhino. I want to be intimately involved with a black rhino. ""

Right before i kill it....

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