The administration of President Donald Trump said it would allow a Michigan trophy hunter to important parts of the body of a rare black rhino. This is despite the fact that the creature is protected by the Endangered Species Act, according to a report Friday from The Associated Press.
According to The Associated Press, the rhino is considered a species in danger of facing extinction with less than 5,500 of them remaining worldwide per information from the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
The man who requested the exception, Chris D. Peyerk of Shelby Township, Michigan, reportedly paid $400,000 last year to an anti-poaching group in order to get special permission to shoot and kill the rare creature in a national park in Namibia, a country located in southwest Africa.
However, according to The Associated Press, the number of black rhinos has increased under stricter conservation guidelines. But, it said, “dozens” are still killed illegally because of the value of their horns, which are illegally sold to be used in Eastern medicine and because they are seen as a status symbol.
According to an August report from The Washington Post, South Africa adopted a new policy last month that allows for the hunting of the rare species of rhino. In a move that was controversial among conservationists, the country claimed it was allowing the increase in hunting in the name of conservation. Proponents defended the increase because the policy applies to older male rhinos that are no longer mating.
Proponents of the measure noted that a similar practice with white rhino populations led to success in bringing up that species’ population numbers, per The Washington Post.
The population of black rhinos fell nearly 96 percent in a 22-year span from 1970 to 1992, per The Washington Post. Around 2,000 of the around 5,000 of the species still in existence reside in South Africa, according to The Washington Post report.
As The Associated Press noted, the president’s position on hunting for sport hasn’t exactly been consistent. In the first year of his presidency, he sent a tweet about a law that would have allowed trophies to be imported from African elephants that were shot for sport, seeming to call the practice a “horror show.”
But the Trump administration has also supported the rollback of several pieces of Obama-era legislation, including decisions to allow the import of elephant and lion trophies from a list of African countries, which served as protections for the endangered species. As The Associated Press noted, Trump’s sons, Eric and Donald Jr., are sport hunters.