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DALLAS (DALLAS SAFARI CLUB) – A Texas hunter has received from the U.S. government a permit to bring home the taxidermy from a planned hunt for a black rhino in Namibia.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service — which administers the Endangered Species Act and regulates Americans’ associated activities — approved the import permit based on the scientific and financial validity of the rhino hunt.

Read the agency’s announcement.

Dallas Safari Club, the conservation organization that auctioned the hunt in early 2014, says the federal approval is vindication for biologists in Africa who prescribed the hunt as way to grow rhino populations. Aged, non-breeding male rhinos are known to charge and kill younger bulls, cows and even calves. This behavior, well documented in scientific literature, jeopardizes the future of a herd. Removing these animals enhances herd productivity.

DSC auctioned the permit for $350,000 — reportedly the highest price ever paid for a big-game hunting permit in Africa — with 100 percent of proceeds going to Namibia for rhino conservation, habitat and anti-poaching initiatives.

“Animal rights extremists bashed the scientists, threatened the buyer and harassed DSC. Now that the world’s leading conservation agency has approved the hunt as a way to help rhino populations, and issued an import permit, I hope some of the naysayers will make an effort to actually understand what they were protesting,” said Ben Carter, DSC executive director.

Namibia is authorized to sell up to five rhino hunting licenses a year. With hunting as part of its management plan, and with associated funds to fuel conservation and law enforcement programs, Namibia’s black rhino population has grown from 60 animals in 1966 to about 1,500 today.

The rhino hunt may be scheduled for later this year or even 2016.

Carter commended the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for its professionalism throughout the permitting process and public comment period.

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