Texas resident Corey Knowlton, an international hunting expert who paid $350,000 over the weekend for a permit to hunt the black rhino in Namibia, is fending off death threats from wildlife conservationists.
Knowlton, a Dallas-area hunting consultant, won the Saturday auction sponsored by the Dallas Safari Club and won a permit to hunt the black rhino under the supervision of the Namibian government, according to CBS Dallas
. The club said it hosted the auction as a way to raise money for conservation efforts aimed at protecting the endangered species.
"They're wanting to kill me," Knowlton told CBS Dallas, stating he has been in contact with the FBI about protection. "They're wanting to kill my children. They're wanting to skin us alive . . . they're wanting to burn my house down."
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Knowlton, 35, said he paid the money because he believed it would go to help in conservation efforts. According to CNN, he works for The Hunting Consortium
, an international guide service, and co-hosts "Jim Shockey's The Professionals," a hunting show on The Outdoor Channel.
"I respect the black rhino," Knowlton told CNN. "A lot of people say, 'Do you feel like a bigger man?' or 'Is this a thrill for you?' The thrill is knowing that we are preserving wildlife resources, not for the next generation, but for eons."
It's not clear whether Knowlton plans to really travel to Namibia and hunt the rhino or if his donation was just to ensure no one actually does. When asked if he'll hunt the animal, he joked that if he does, the rhino will likely kill him first.
Wes Mundy, who was also reportedly in the bidding for the hunting permit, identified Knowlton as the winner on his Facebook page Monday.
"Well, I was willing to go $340,000 for the black rhino, but Corey Knowlton went $350,000 and won the bid," Mundy posted, according to the Daily Mail
. "Plus there was another $100,000 donation!! DSC and their supporters came through in a huge way for conservation again tonight!!"
But later on his Double Diamond Outfitters Facebook page, Mundy denied the Daily Mail's report.
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