Slain Rhino Carcass Headed to Home of Michigan Hunter

WASHINGTON (CN) – The Trump administration said Friday it will issue a permit to let a Michigan man import the skin, skull and horns of a black rhinoceros he shot in Africa last year.

Spike, a rare black rhino, is shown at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in Ohio on June 6, 1997. The Trump administration says it will issue a permit to a Michigan trophy hunter to import the skin, skull and horns from a rare black rhinoceros he shot last year in Africa. (AP Photo/The Plain Dealer, Scott Shaw)

Chris Peyerk of Shelby Township, Michigan, applied for the permit in 2018 to import animal parts that are prohibited by the Fish and Wildlife Service under the Endangered Species Act. To hunt the bull rhino in a Namibian national park, Peyerk also paid $400,000 to an anti-poaching program.

There are only about 5,500 black rhinos in the wild, nearly half of which are in Namibia. Every year, the country issues five permits for hunters to legally kill the animals. 

The Fish and Wildlife Service’s webpage lists various stipulations for U.S. hunters to import trophies from overseas, saying the permits “provide a means to balance use and conservation of protected species.”

“By complying with permit requirements, your personal import will help conserve protected animal species and support the local communities where you hunt, further promoting conservation of these species and their habitats by providing incentives for protection,” the website states.

A spokesperson for the Fish and Wildlife Service said Friday that legal hunting can be beneficial to conservation.

“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,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

Peyerk was unavailable for comment Friday.

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