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Christine R. Dahlin
Assistant Professor
Department of Biology
University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
Hunting the Black Rhino: Trophy Killing and the Management of Endangered Wildlife

This case study was developed to teach students the importance of understanding the behavior of wildlife, explore the difficulty in making management decisions when the public is invested in a species, and to help students develop critical thinking and public speaking skills. Students learn about the conservation status and behavior of the black rhinoceros by reading a primary literature article and answering a series of questions. They then listen to a Radiolab podcast that explores the moral dilemma of whether it is ethically appropriate to shoot an endangered rhinoceros if the purpose is to raise conservation funds. Students are assigned one of five positions and write essays to prepare for a town hall style debate in which they examine the pros and cons of such a decision. The Radiolab podcast is based on real events, and is also representative of many ethical dilemmas that wildlife managers regularly face. This case study is appropriate for several upper division biology courses.