Thought everyone would find this interesting (Via Barbara Crown) The US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) has granted the first import permit for a black rhino in 33 years. The permit is being issued to an American hunter who shot a free-range black rhino in Namibia under that country's CITES hunting quota for this species. "The Service is to be commended for showing good judgment on this issue," says John J. Jackson, III, of Conservation Force, who has represented the test permit applicant since 2009. "This is an important juncture in rhino conservation, when the continued increase of rhino poaching makes it all the more important to raise the funds necessary and incentivize the local people to conserve these animals. Namibia's black rhino hunting program is a force for conservation, and US Fish and Wildlife has recognized that." The black rhino was listed under the US Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1980, effectively shutting down any importation of black rhino hunting trophies into the United States. When Namibia reopened hunting for black rhino in 2009 as part of a comprehensive conservation plan, the way was opened to get import permits issued under an exception to the general prohibition in the ESA. That exception allows for importation in cases where such importation enhances the propagation and survival of the species. In its review, USFWS found that hunting of black rhinos in Namibia is not only not detrimental to the species but that it also enhances the species' survival. Namibia has a CITES quota of five rhino bulls per annum. The removal of dominant, geriatric bulls (surplus males) actually helps increase the population growth rate, as reported by the Rhino Specialist Group of the IUCN. The permit application for this particular trophy was part of Conservation Force's Black Rhino Initiative. Jackson has worked tirelessly for nearly four years to get USFWS to issue an import permit for this species under the enhancement exception. Congratulations to Jackson for clearing a way for black rhino trophy importations by American hunters, and a thumbs up to USFWS for making a reasonable finding that will help fund rhino conservation in Africa. My best always.