Central Texans Give Opinion on Black Rhino Hunt - kcentv.com - KCEN HD - Waco, Temple, and Killeen

Central Texans Give Opinion on Black Rhino Hunt

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Cameron Park Zoo Rhino Cameron Park Zoo Rhino

(KCEN) -- A Texas hunter is now receiving death threats.

That's after paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for the right to hunt an endangered black rhino.

He says the money will actually help the conservation effort.

Central Texans are torn over whether this is conservation or just trophy hunting.

For animal lover Brandie Molyneaux, there's no justifiable reason for a human to pay to hunt a black rhino, "Yeah, the money's nice but they killed the rhino that's endangered, so to me, that's still pointless."

And she's not alone. Outrage from animal activists has poured in since the Dallas Safari Club auctioned off a permit to kill the animal in Namibia.

But that rage was nothing compared to the anger pointed at the Dallas hunter who paid $350,000 for the permit. "I had no idea that they would be attacking my two-year-old daughter and my seven-year-old daughter and my beautiful young wife," says Corey Knowlton. Corey won the black rhino hunting permit.

At the Cameron Park Zoo, they would never auction off their white rhinos.

But zoo director Jim Fleshman says some good could come from expediting the death of this old animal, "Sometime the death of an animal can have a positive impact and in this case, the only positive impact you get is more money going to conservation of that species."

All across the county, people are having an ethical debate about the rhino hunt. So, we wanted to ask Cameron Park Zoo visitors what they thought and the answers were mixed.

"I think it sets a bad precedent it encourages a kind of behavior that is maybe not what we want to encourage," says zoo visitor Lauren Williamson.

Also visiting the zoo, Daniel McGinty goes on to say, "If by killing one, you can save more or increase in their population, that might be justifiable."

And while Brandie will probably never change her stance on this killing, others will continue to debate it's ethics. "The philosophical question comes in will this rhinos death help preserve the species, so will one animal help preserve future generations or rhinos," says Brandie.

But, we won't know that answer in the near future.

The Humane Society opposed the Dallas Safari Club's auction.

It says it plans to fight the hunter's efforts to bring the black rhino trophy into the United States.

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