For the first time in 33 years a hunter has been allowed to import a black rhino trophy into the U.S. David K. Reinke, CEO of a laser jet printer parts wholesaler, tagged the animal in Namibia in 2009. He paid $215,000 for the hunt, including a $175,000 contribution to the Namibian government’s Game Products Trust Fund.

Since 1980, black rhinos have been protected under the Endangered Species Act.

After four years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service granted Reinke a license to import the trophy into the U.S. The FWS wrote in a statement that Namibia’s black rhino conservation program affirms “the role that well-managed, limited sport hunting plays in contributing to the long-term survival and recovery of the black rhino in Namibia.”

John R. Platt has a different opinion. He covers endangered species for Scientific American and writes that the costs of a few legal hunts outweigh the potential benefits.

“Legal hunting sends a message not about conservation, as the pro-hunting groups argue, but that rhinos are ripe for the taking,” Platt writes. “And as long as that message exists, the rhinos will continue to suffer.”

Photo from Wikipedia