Trophy hunter allowed to import rhino remains

A Michigan trophy hunter will be allowed to import the skin, skull and horns from a black rhinoceros he shot during a trip in Africa.

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Chris D. Peyerk, of Shelby Township, paid $400,000 to a wildlife conservation program for permission to hunt the rhino bull in a Namibian national park in May 2018.

The application he filed last year, required by the Fish and Wildlife Service in order to legally bring the endangered animal into the United States, is expected to be approved by officials, The Associated Press reported this week.

Black rhinos are listed as a critically endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. There are 5,500 black rhinos remaining in the wild.

The rhino population has rebounded in recent years under strict conservation practices, according to federal wildlife officials. However, many rhinos are still poached illegally and sold on the black market.

"Many animals have been killed for the hard, hairlike growth, which is revered for medicinal uses in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore," according to National Geographic. "The horn is also valued in North Africa and the Middle East as an ornamental dagger handle."

Namibia is allowed to permit five male rhinos a year to be legally killed.

"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," Laury Parramore, spokeswoman for the Fish and Wildlife Service, told The Associated Press.

The Humane Society of the United States rebuked the decision.

"While we cannot turn back the clock to save this animal, the Administration can stop the U.S. from further contributing to the demise of this species by refusing future import permits of black rhino trophies," Kitty Block, president of the animal rights group, said in a statement. "Black rhinos must be off limits to trophy hunters."

No import permits were issued for decades until 2013. Three were issued during the Obama administration, and two already have been allowed during Donald Trump’s.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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