A hunter who paid $350,000 for the right to hunt and kill an endangered African black rhino says he has had to hire full-time security after receiving death threats.
Corey Knowlton became a figure of hate after his name was leaked on to the internet after his winning bid at last week’s Dallas Safari Club auction.
Speaking on state television, Mr Knowlton, a hunting consultant, said that his name had been posted on Facebook and picked up by websites that publicised his involvement.
“They’re wanting to kill me. They’re wanting to kill my children. They’re wanting to skin us alive… they’re wanting to burn my house down,” he said of the type of threats received.
FBI spokeswoman, Katherine Chaumont said Wednesday in a statement, “The FBI is aware of the threats. If a violation of federal law is determined, additional action or investigation as necessary will take place.”
Corey Knowlton told Dallas television stations WFAA and KTVT that he won last week’s Dallas Safari Club auction to hunt a black rhino in the African nation of Namibia.
Knowlton said he simply put up $350,000 for rhino conservation and anti-poaching causes. He wants people to know that if he hadn’t made the bid there would be less money going toward a good cause.
“They don’t know who I am. They don’t know what I’m about. They don’t even understand the process. This actually is the very best thing by scientific biologists experts,” he said.
“I’m a hunter,” Knowlton told WFAA. “I want to experience a black rhino. I want to be intimately involved with a black rhino. If I go over there and shoot it or not shoot it, it’s beyond the point.”
The Namibian government says that Corey Knowlton’s $350,000 will go into the Conservation Trust Fund For The Namibian Black Rhino.
An estimated 4,000 black rhinos remain in the wild, and the auction drew critics who said all members of an endangered species deserve protection.
Tim Van Norman of the Fish And Wildlife Service said that Namibia issues permits to kill five black rhinos per year. Van Norman said that hunting the older males can actually help the herd populate.