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posted: 1/11/2014 9:44 PM

BC-US--Rhino Hunt-Auction, 7th Ld,849 Black rhino hunting permit auctioned for $350,000 AP Photo TXTG102, TXTG101, NY115

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By NOMAAN MERCHANT and MICHAEL GRACZYK

Associated Press

DALLAS (AP) -- A permit to hunt an endangered African black rhino has sold for $350,000 at a closely watched auction that's been criticized by wildlife and animal rights groups.

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The Dallas Safari Club and the African nation of Namibia auctioned the permit Saturday to raise money for efforts to protect the black rhino.

Safari Club spokesman Steve Wagner confirmed the sale of the permit at the closed-door event. He declined to name the buyer.

Club executive director Ben Carter says the rhino that the winner will be allowed to hunt is old, male and nonbreeding -- and that the animal was likely to be targeted for removal anyway because it was becoming aggressive and threatening other wildlife.

But critics of the auction say all members of an endangered species should be protected.

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