Trump administration to allow hunter to import rare black rhino trophy parts

A hunter from Michigan has reportedly been granted approval to import the taxidermied remains of a rare black rhinoceros he killed in Africa despite criticism of the application from environmental groups.

NBC News reported that the Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS) granted the approval to Chris Peyerk, who reportedly paid $400,000 to a conservation service for the right to hunt the male rhino, listed as "vulnerable" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, in a Namibian park last year.

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FWS did not immediately return a request for comment from The Hill on the application, which is the second of its kind approved under the Trump administration since January of 2017. A spokeswoman for the agency defended the process of legal trophy hunting for the purpose of raising funds for conservation to NBC.

"Legal, well-regulated hunting as part of a sound management program can benefit the conservation of certain species by providing incentives to local communities to conserve the species and by putting much-needed revenue back into conservation," the spokeswoman said.

In September of last year, FWS granted approval to Lacy Harber, a trophy hunter from Texas, to import the remains of a black rhino he killed in 2017. Three of the permits were also issued during the Obama administration.

The Trump administration set up a panel under the Interior Department last year to promote the practice.

The head of Humane Society International torched the Trump administration's approval of the permit. 

"We urge our federal government to end this pay-to-slay scheme that delivers critically endangered rhino trophies to wealthy Americans while dealing a devastating blow to rhino conservation," Kitty Block said.

"While we cannot turn back the clock to save this animal, the administration can stop the U.S. from further contributing to the demise of this species by refusing future import permits of black rhino trophies," she added.