Meet Corey Knowlton, a serial murderer of protected wildlife who arrived quietly in Namibia to hunt the famed black rhino on May 13th.
Yesterday, he accomplished his goal and killed the magnificent creature. All for the thrill, of course.
Nearly 18 months ago, the Texas hunter bid $350,000 to kill the animal in the southern African country of Namibia. While the permit was issued by Namibia's Ministry of Environment and Tourism and auctioned by the Dallas Safari Club its origins are dubious. African nations have both weak institutions a huge need for cash. $350,000 goes a long way.
Knowlton has since faced scathing criticism and death threats as the world reacted angrily to the hunt of one of the world's most endangered species. Despite his pleas to the contrary the trip is being highly scrutinized by animal welfare groups around the world who universally condemn the hunt.
"At this point, the whole world knows about this hunt and I think it's extremely important that people know it's going down the right way, in the most scientific way that it can possibly happen," Knowlton said, channeling his best conservation expert voice.
Knowlton, 36, from Dallas, views the hunt as a vital component of Namibia's effort to save the animal from extinction. The $350,000 permit fee will go to fund government anti-poaching efforts across the country.
Killing of an older rhino bull, which no longer breeds but which could harm or kill younger males, is part of the science of conservation, both Knowlton and Namibia claim.
And yet no animal rights, environmental or scientists back up the claim that killing an endangered species is somehow good for the long term survival prospects.
Opponents like the International Fund for Animal Welfare have not been swayed, saying "We'll simply never agree with that," fund director Azzedine Downes said. "There's a lot of other things that we can and must do in order to protect these animals."
Killing the rare species also legitimizes illegal poaching, as Africans feel that they should be able to hunt their own animals if rich white men can do it. Chinese citizens also feel legitimized in their lust for rhino horns, as if Americans can kill these creatures surely they should be allowed to as well.
So while Mr. Knowlton now has his prize, the world is left to mourn the loss of one of its last majestic mega-beasts and work through the damage his highly publicized hunt has caused.