Texas rhino hunt auction winner fears for his safety
by Marie Saavedra, WFAA-TV
DALLAS — A U.S. man who paid $350,000 for the right to hunt an endangered African black rhino says he fears for his safety. Corey Knowlton said that after being revealed as the winner of a controversial Dallas Safari Club auction, he's received death threats — so many that he says local law enforcement and the FBI are now working to keep them safe.
Knowlton, who has hunted around the world, said there has been a lot of anger and some confusion.
He leads expeditions for both everyday Joes and billionaires looking to hunt, and has been a fixture on The Outdoor Channel. His Facebook page is filled with photos of large deer he's tracked and killed — wild boar, a bear, even a massive shark. The Safari Club auctioned the permit to raise money for efforts to protect the black rhino.
Knowlton said his goal was to support conservation efforts for the black rhino. That's where the money from his bid will go. But critics feel that the chance to kill one is no kind of reward — and they're letting him know it.
Still, Knowlton said the hunt is well-managed, and insists he will be targeting an aggressive older male that he says is terrorizing the rest of the herd, and would already be a target.
He said this is a challenge he welcomes.
"I'm a hunter. I want to experience a black rhino. I want to be intimately involved with a black rhino," Knowlton said. "If I go over there and shoot it or not shoot it, it's beyond the point."
He said the death of this black rhino is inevitable.
"They are going to shoot those black rhinos ... period. End of story," he said.
Contributing: The Associated Press