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Humane Society International, meanwhile, has launched a petition calling on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service not to allow the import of the hunter’s rhino trophy. Under the federal Endangered Species Act, a permit is required in order to import the animal — dead or alive.

Granting the permit “would set a terrible precedent for this and other critically-endangered species whose future depends on keeping as many of their kind alive so that they can contribute to the gene pool,” the petition states.

The hunter who won the Dallas auction — Corey Knowlton, 35 — disagrees.

Namibian black rhinos that are made eligible for auctions are among the oldest of their populations, and officials “don’t want them breeding their own kids in a small population,” he told The Times.

A consultant for The Hunting Consortium, an international guide service, Mr. Knowlton says he has hunted more than 120 species on almost every continent. He expressed confidence that permits for his black rhino hunt will be granted.

He said he hopes to donate the rhino’s meat to needy Namibian and to preserve and import the animal’s hide. If his import permit is denied, Namibia won’t get his $350,000 bid, he said.

Mr. Knowlton noted that rare trophy auctions typically are not held in wealthy nations like the U.S. and rarely draw bids higher than $200,000.