Sport and Trophy Hunting Is Not Conservation

Posted by Alexis Braun, ALDF Litigation Clerk on January 29, 2014

On January 11, the Dallas Safari Club auctioned off a permit to hunt a black rhino in Namibia. The Club wants us to believe that the killing of a critically endangered black rhino for sport is really an act of conservation. However, the individual who won the auction will soon travel to Namibia and shoot and watch die a member of an endangered species. After a taxidermist has stuffed the rhino, this individual will attempt to import the rhino—now called a trophy—back into the United States to serve as an ego booster, conversation starter, and furniture piece. If this doesn’t feel like conservation to you, it’s because it’s not.


There are an estimated 5,055 black rhinos worldwide, 1,800 of which live in Namibia. This represents a decline of about 96 percent over the last century. A related subspecies, the western black rhino, was declared extinct in 2011. In 2004, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) gave Namibia permission to hunt up to five male black rhinos a year, but the permit auctioned in Dallas was the first such permit to be sold outside of Namibia.

The Club justified the auction of the permit of this critically endangered species by promising that the money raised would go towards supporting black rhino conservation efforts in Namibia. The government of Namibia guaranteed that only a senior male rhino that was post-reproductive age would be hunted. The Club’s Executive Director Ben Carter publicly stated: “First and foremost, this is about saving the black rhino.”

The Club had publicly predicted that the auction could raise as much as one million dollars for rhino conservation in Namibia, but the winning bid totaled only $350,000.

Some have publicly supported the Club’s actions, including Dr. Rosie Cooney of the IUCN, who wrote: “Capitalizing on the humane demise of a post reproductive animal in order to produce tangible benefits for the conservation of its species is a sound strategy of strong support.”

Thankfully, others have come forward to condemn the actions of the Club. After the Club announced its plans to auction off the permit in late 2012, over 25,000 people signed a petition asking the Club to cancel the auction.  Bob Barker, Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society of the United States, Jeff Flocken of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, and ALDF’s own executive director Stephen Wells all criticized the auction as contrary to conservation efforts.

The Dallas Safari Club would like us to see what they do as conservation. What it comes down to, though, is that trophy hunters kill animals for fun, for sport, for entertainment, for a hobby. That is not conservation.

36 thoughts on “Sport and Trophy Hunting Is Not Conservation

  1. Kathlene Henry-Gorman says:

    This auction is an atrocity of the highest magnitude, and calling it conservation is just a lie. If this Dallas Safari Club was so concerned about the Black Rhino, they would donate that money to conservation, and not allow the murder to take place. And note, it is murder, pure and simple. All life has value, and gunning down this beautiful animal is not sport, it is cowardice. I am ashamed to be a member of the human race. My heart weeps for all life on this planet.

    1. Nina Phillips says:

      150% agreed!

  2. Lynda Corkum says:

    One word…slaughter!

    1. Nina Phillips says:

      It sure is SLAUGHTER! Of our natural heritage right before our own eyes! What a modern day tragedy!

  3. sandi says:

    I did a paper on Trophy Hunting in college, they are nothing more than butchers,, fat, wealthy butchers that pay money to slaughter their game that are defenseless,behind fences are they are tied up. You cannot even call it hunting, poachers would be a better word for them, but even they hunt the animal, there is no fair hunt with Trophy Hunters.Then the real joke is they put the animals head on a wall, really! and they then call themselves hunters.

  4. Nina Phillips says:

    This is just a poor excuse for any type of sustainable natural resource management, a sure cop out, a short sighted solution, a way to pander to BIG $$$ constituencies… my list goes on!

  5. Laureen says:

    Yes, the wonders of the human being. Of all the stupid, selfish ideas that humans can come up with, this one is ONE of them. Did they bang their heads together and came up with this brilliant idea? Leave nature and animals alone. Your club is nothing but a useless venture. That rhino’s family needs him, just like our families need us. So human beings, SCREW OFF!!

  6. Kim Cofer says:


  7. Carolyn Collins says:

    It is murder!!!

  8. Laurie Henderson says:

    Asinine, cruel, shortsighted.

  9. Pamela Geier says:

    Greed. That is all it boils down to. You are killing our planet and killing us as well. STOP THIS AT ONCE!

  10. Susan Cooney says:

    It is cold blooded murder. MURDER! Anyway you look at it.

  11. This is an abject display of cowardice, not sportsmanship. And trying to justify it as conservation is ludicrous.

  12. Suzy says:

    If you enjoy slaughtering animals there is something wrong with you. You are mentally unstable. Karma does come around. It always comes full circle.

  13. Rochelle Maloy says:

    Outrageous. Insanely stupid. Ignorant. Murder.

  14. Klara Larsen says:

    Killing is not a sport. It is simply murder.

  15. Jamie Green says:

    I am deeply saddened that someone is so uncaring and ill that they would pay such exorbitant fees just to put a bullet in such a magnificent animal. If it is about conservation, why not just donate the money? This is disturbing and will prove to be a mistake as it will set a dangerous precedent.

  16. Beverly Ford says:

    A shameful barbaric act coupled with ignorance and colored by a sense of entitlement.

  17. Elise says:

    Any hunting is morally reprehensible. That took it to another level!

  18. Lorie Obradovich says:

    If these egoists need a trophy that bad, they can go to the store and buy one!

  19. Robin Snider says:

    Killing any animal that is not being killed to eat, should not be killed. Endangered species should never be killed for any reason.

  20. Heather says:

    Trophy hunting us nothing but a cowardly hobby for people who clearly have no respect for the world outside their own ignorant ones.

  21. Mary J Armbrust says:

    That argument is just as insane as the belief the money paid will go to “conservation” and that the animal is “sick, old or a rhino killer itself”. Too bad we can’t auction off chances to kill the hunter when he goes after the black rhino and use that money for real conservation or preventing canned hunts. I’m sure many of us would be happy to pose smiling over that sick hunter’s lifeless bloody body.

  22. Louise A. Chinian says:

    What absolute cowards and damn fools!! Do they not see how stupid and ugly and cowardly they are? Of course not. They think they are big brave men!!! I could go on but it is so obvious that some education and publicity needs to be mandated. Most people are unaware of these low-lifes and their destructive practices. Get the word out!!! Now!!

  23. J.J.W. says:


  24. Tamara Palmer says:

    Unchecked human ego, supported by corrupt governments.

  25. Kathy Chadwell says:

    I call it rich sociopath, narcissists who are nothing more than poachers.

  26. roger marshall says:

    Man(un)kinds murder of the innocent by the very guilty, selfish inadequates, who need the electric chair

  27. HUMAN act like so. What you’re are doing is call murder with a cover up!!! And that is criminal. SAD!!!!!

  28. Roz Downing says:

    Murdering endangered species in order to save them? Definitely perverse thinking! Only a hunter could think this is OK. Shame on Namibia! They bludgeon their seals & kill endangered species – way to go!!!

  29. Linda Maslin says:

    I would call it human arrogance and ignorance, not to mention murder!

  30. Alisa M. Wright says:


  31. Cindy James says:

    Anyone who Trophy Hunts is an EVIL Despicable human being!!!!!

  32. James Kayser says:

    There should be a for Trophy hunters & their businesses. Anyone searches for them…there they are.

  33. Susan Fairweather says:

    Of course not conservation – just the self indulgent fulfilment of a base desire to kill which we should have evolved out of, exercised by people who have too much money and, let’s face it, are the product of a society where hunting is widespread and guns are freely available. These outrages will continue until hunting and gun possession are made illegal.
    As for so-called wildlife organisations which have backed this – they have lost my support!

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