Many conservationists are disappointed that South Africa has won permission to trophy hunt more black rhinos, with the limit going from five a year to 10.
The decision was made at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), a meeting in Geneva attended by 183 nations.
It follows the recent growth of the black rhino population. The International Rhino Foundation states that the species was decimated by 96 percent between 1970 and 1992, with around 2,300 living in the wild. Around 5,000 of the animals now exist, 2,000 of which are in South Africa.
Conservation organizations including the Born Free Foundation opposed the move, as well as countries including Gabon and Kenya. But Botswana, Zimbabwe and Eswatini, supported it.
Those supporting decision claim that because it costs tens of thousands to hunt the animal, the money will go into conservation and ultimately help the species.
But conservationists are concerned about the trafficking of black rhino for their horns. “We encourage major efforts to ensure their protection, the prevention of trafficking, and that any trophy hunting is truly sustainable and supports, not undermines, the conservation of the species,” said Elizabeth Bennett of the Wildlife Conservation Society.
The final session of the summit signs off all votes. Because the EU failed to vote, the decision could be overturned during the final session.