How could I not have realized that Corey Knowlton is risking life and limb to save the rhinos of southern Africa?
Sitting in a Las Vegas hotel, Mr. Knowlton, who has paid the Namibian government $350,000 for a permit to kill a black rhino, explained to CNN that "the thrill" of hunting down rhinos in Africa "is knowing that we are preserving wildlife resources, not for the next generation, but for eons."
Of course! Folks like Mr. Knowlton are the ones who truly understand that rhinos are more than just rhinos; they're "wildlife resources". And wildlife resources need to be protected, by being killed, so that future generations and eons of people can keep hunting them.
"I want to experience a black rhino," he continued. And he understands better than the rest of us that if you want to experience someone, the best way is to kill them. As he described it, you can "be there and be a part of it."
Mr. Knowlton calls himself a "passionate conservationist" who has already shot and killed animals from 120 different species.
Despite what it looks like, Mr. Knowlton is, in fact, saving the rhinos. His bio on The Outdoor Channel explains that he's a "passionate conservationist" who has already shot and killed animals from 120 different species. That's an impressive amount of conservation – the kind that only rich members of the Safari Club International can provide to wildlife. We should all be thanking them. (Again, my apologies for not realizing this.)
Along with $350,000-worth of "conservation", Mr. Knowlton is also providing employment for bodyguards – he's currently surrounded by them at his hotel in Vegas and wherever he goes. That's because a few people who are angry and upset that rhinos are now almost extinct are now threatening to hunt down Mr. Knowlton.
"I find you and I will KILL you," one of those people wrote on this poor man's Facebook page. “I have friends who live in the area and will have you in there (sic) sights also."
But maybe these people aren't angry AT Mr. Knowlton. Maybe they're just concerned FOR him. Maybe they do understand that he's a true friend of the rhinos and they're trying to PROTECT the sport hunting community, just like the sport hunting community is trying to protect the rhinos.
After all, between 1996 and 2006 the number of hunters in the United States declined by 10 percent. And although it's risen a bit since then, there are still fewer hunters overall. That means the Safari Club International needs all the help it can get. So the folks who want to hunt down Mr. Knowlton are only trying to save the hunters by killing some of them.
It's also possible that the people who want to hunt down Mr. Knowlton really love him and want to "experience" him in the same way that he loves rhinos and wants to experience them.
Mr. Knowlton seems a bit uncertain about this, however. "If I sound emotional," he told CNN, "it's because I have people threatening my kids."
Perhaps anyone applying for a hunting license should first have the "experience" of being the prey of wildlife advocates.
Well, that's what hunting's all about it, isn't it? Rhinos don't like people hunting down their kids, either – or, in this case, their fathers. (The rhino Mr. Knowlton bought the license to kill is an older male who probably has lots of children and doesn't want people threatening him and his family.)
But if all these folks from the Safari Club International really want to feel the "thrill" of hunting that Mr. Knowlton so values, they surely know there's no thrill like being at the other end of the gun.
All of which leads me to the conclusion that anyone applying for a hunting license should first have to have the "experience" of being the prey of wildlife advocates. It would not only be a thrill for the license seeker but perhaps even fun for the wildlife protectors who would never otherwise have had the thrill of killing another living being.
Altogether a win-win proposition.