Texan Shoots Endangered Black Rhino, Says A Benefit to Rhino Conservation

Reporter Ed Lavandera with CNN traveled to Namibia to cover the controversial “conservation hunt” of an endangered Black Rhino.

By Alain StephensMay 21, 2015 9:30 am

A Texan named Corey Knowlton got on a plane, destination Namibia. Knowlton had made an unusual purchase last year: namely, the right to kill an endangered black rhino.

He’d won that right in an auction sponsored by the Dallas Safari Club. His purchase sparked international headlines and a blowback so harsh, Knowlton had delayed his trip until this week.

A Dallas-based CNN reporter named Ed Lavandera also went to Namibia to cover the rhino hunt, and Courtney Collins of KERA North Texas has the details for the Texas Standard.

Knowlton, a 36-year-old son of a Texas oil man, grew up hunting and has bagged big game across the globe. Knowlton told Lavandera he respects the animals he kills and believes in hunting as conservation.

Lavandera says Knowlton “wants to convince his critics – of which there are many – that conservation hunting has a place in wildlife management and it has a place in trying to save an endangered species like the Black Rhino.”

The hunt took two days to plan and three days of tracking through rough northern Namibian terrain.

“The hardest part was the lack of visibility, many times you couldn’t see 10 to 15 ft. in any kind of direction,” Lavandera says.

Knowlton caught up to the rhino on Monday. After he shot it, Knowlton talked to Lavandera: “I feel pretty emotional right now,” he said. “I felt like from day one it was to benefit the black rhino and I’ll feel like that until the day I die.”