Sometimes Money Can't Buy Everything

Texas real estate scion and former chairman of Perot Systems, H. Ross Perot Jr. has met his match over a white rhino trophy head in a battle with South African wildlife officials. According to reports, the 51-year-old son of billionaire and former US presidential candidate H. Ross Perot Sr., 79, shot the animal in the controlled hunting zone of the Mkhuze game reserve in KwaZulu-Natal last July, but the bull ran off. Reserve officials later determined the rhino had probably suffered a flesh wound, as no signs of a severely injured animal or carcass were found. International trade in white rhinos is prohibited by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), except for those in South Africa and Swaziland, whose controlled trade is allowed for specific purposes including the export of hunting trophies.

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, a governmental organization in charge of wilderness areas and public nature reserves in KwaZulu Province, South Africa, initially sanctioned but then vetoed a follow-up expedition requested by hunting sub-contractor Garry Kelly, who’d accompanied Perot on the initial hunt. Asking for a “second bite at the cherry,” attorneys retained by Perot and Kelly argued that their clients, who’d paid a vast sum for the hunt (the “single rhino trophy hunting package” can cost around $66,000), were entitled to the rhino’s head if the animal could be tracked and shot again. They also alleged the follow-up endeavor “was to ensure the wounded animal was...destroyed to spare it further pain and suffering.”

Representatives for Ezemvelo determined that their own hunters would shoot the animal if he re-emerged with “a visible bullet wound from Perot’s large caliber hunting rifle,” and he appeared to be suffering. And if that were the case, Perot would no longer have claim to the head, according to Ezemvelo Chief Executive Bandile Mkhize.