Controversial Hunt Leads To Death Threats


By Aimee Burnett

Twin Falls, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) A man who paid 350-thousand dollars to hunt a black rhino in Africa says he and his family are getting death threats.

The hunt was auctioned off by the Dallas Safari Club as a way to raise money for conservation efforts.

Aimee Burnett talked one-on-one with a professional African hunter about the role hunters play in conserving wildlife.

"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."

Corey Knowlton fears for his life and that of his family.

Last week he outbid other hunters at a Dallas Safari Club auction... Winning a black rhino hunt in Namibia...

A special permit issued by the country's government.

Since then, the death threats have been pouring in.

"Thousands! As nasty as you can possibly imagine," Knowlton says.

Michael Currie is a professional hunter, who's been working in the region for fifteen years.

"In my point of view, hunting is conservation through and through. As soon as an animal has a value, be it monetary value or commercial value, people are going to look after it," he explains.

Currie believes this hunt will help the black rhino populations thrive.

"You are now taking an adult male rhino who is past his breeding prime, he's no longer serving a purpose to the genetic stability of the herd, he's an outcast, he's on his own, in fact he's probably now beating up on some of the younger animals that should be breeding. He's just waiting to die,” he says.

Each year, the Namibian government allows up to five permits to be auctioned off.

"That money is being invested in research, it's being invested in anti-poaching efforts, it's being invested in habitat protection, habitat development, water provision," Currie explains.

Currie has witnessed firsthand the impacts of hunting on animal populations in Africa.

"After the Mozambique and Bush War, which ended in 1993, we made the first game counts in the Delta. We counted 2,800 buffalo and 44 Sable. Where we're sitting now, just through hunting and conserving those areas on our own projects, we've invested incredible amounts of money into anti-poaching and conservation. We're boasting buffalo populations of over 20,000 buffalo; Sable are almost over 3,000," he points out.

Zambeze Delta Safaris has roughly fifty employees working on anti-poaching efforts.

Knowlton has hired a private security team while the FBI investigates the threats.

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