12/01/2014 05:26 GMT | Updated 25/01/2014 16:01 GMT

Black Rhino Hunt Permit Auctioned In US For £212,000 - To Help Save Rhinos


UPDATE: 'I've Had Death Threats', Reveals Winner Of Black Rhino Hunt Auction

A permit to hunt and kill an endangered Black Rhino in Namibia has been sold at a US auction for $350,000 (£212,000).

The Dallas Safari Club in Texas sparked outrage last year after it announced it would be raising cash for endangered black rhinoceroses - by auctioning off a permit to kill one in Namibia.

The club says the hunt will help protect the species by removing an old aggressive rhino, and funding future conservation.

"First and foremost, this is about saving the black rhino," said Ben Carter, executive director of the club.

The winning bidder - who has not been named - will hunt an old, non-breeding male rhino.

The logic backing the argument that the hunters love Rhino's so much that they are in a bidding war to kill one, has, unsurprisingly, left people flabbergasted.

Animal rights groups described the hunt's conservation claim as "perverse" and "a sad joke".

The Humane Society of the United States described the news of the auction as "disturbing" and vowed to campaign against the issuance of a US permit to return the trophy.

"The world is seeing a concerted effort to preserve the very few black rhinos and other rhinos who are dodging poachers' bullets and habitat destruction," said Wayne Pacelle, president of the HSUS to AFP.

"The last thing they need are wealthy elites from foreign lands coming in to kill them for their heads."

He also questioned the ethics of wealthy, competitive trophy hunters who say they want to kill an animal in the name of conservation.

"Shooting a black rhino in the wild is about as difficult as shooting a parked car," he said.

"If these are multimillionaires and they want to help rhinos, they can give their money to help rhinos. They don't need to accompany their cash transfer with a high caliber bullet," he said.

Black rhinos are internationally considered an endangered species and the World Wildlife Fund says about 4,800 are alive in the African wild.

All proceeds will be donated to the Namibian government and will be earmarked for conservation efforts, safari club officials said.