Here’s a item from 538’s significant digits morning email.
$400,000 to kill a rhino
Some of y’all need new hobbies. A Michigan trophy hunter is planning to import the body of a rare black rhino he paid $400,000 to kill in Namibia last year. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it will issue an import permit to Chris D. Peyerk despite the U.S. Endangered Species Act restricting the import of trophies of endangered animals. There is some dispute about whether this rhino belonged to a species that is “critically endangered” or just “vulnerable.” [The Associated Press]
That was the short version. Here’s some of the AP article, US to allow trophy hunter to import body of rare black rhino.
The Trump administration says it will issue permit to a Michigan trophy hunter to import the skin, skull and horns from a rare black rhinoceros he shot in Africa.
Documents show Chris D. Peyerk of Shelby Township, Michigan, applied last year for the permit required by the Fish and Wildlife Service to import animals protected under the Endangered Species Act. Peyerk paid $400,000 to an anti-poaching program to receive permission to hunt the male rhino bull inside a Namibian national park in May 2018.
The numbers of black rhinos have been increasing in recent years with stricter conservation management, but dozens are still illegally poached each year for their horns, which are sold on the black market for use in traditional Chinese medicine and as a status symbol. The horns are composed largely of the protein keratin, also the chief component in hair and fingernails.
“Legal, well-regulated hunting as part of a sound management program can benefit the conservation of certain species by providing incentives to local communities to conserve the species and by putting much-needed revenue back into conservation,” said Laury Parramore, spokeswoman for the Fish and Wildlife Service.
So the FWS has officially bitten the apple grown by Safari International - the organization of head hunters headquartered in Tucson.
Records show Peyerk was represented in his effort to get a rhino permit by John J. Jackson III, a Louisiana attorney who provides free legal assistance to trophy hunters through a nonprofit group called Conservation Force. He is also a past president of Safari Club International, a trophy hunting group that has lobbied the Trump administration to loosen import restrictions on endangered big game animals.
Jackson was appointed in 2018 to the International Wildlife Conservation Council, an advisory board set up by then-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to help promote trophy hunting. Jackson said he sees no conflict between advising the Fish and Wildlife Service on policy issues while also petitioning the agency on the behalf of his legal clients.
And that’s why I renamed USFWS to US Fish and Wildlife Safaris.