H Ross Perot Jr, the son of former US presidential hopeful and EDS founder H Ross Perot, has been told he can't after all have the head and skin of a white rhino he shot back in July in KwaZulu-Natal's Mkhuze game reserve, after the beast made good his escape from the hunter's "bungled" attempt to down him.
According to SA's Independent Online, the bull was "apparently shot and wounded... but ran off and wildlife officials have been unable to find any sign of a carcass or a wounded animal - indicating that it suffered a flesh wound or was not seriously injured".
After initially insisting that the animal was forfeit, the powers that be agreed that South African professional hunter Garry Kelly, acting for Perot Jr, could shoot the animal and claim its head for his client.
Kelly insisted that "the primary purpose of the follow-up operation at Mkhuze was to ensure the wounded animal was tracked down and destroyed to spare it further pain and suffering".
However, critics suggested the decision to allow a "second bite of the cherry" was "merely a pretext to obtain the animal's head" and that the rhino "had suffered a flesh wound and was unlikely to bear any remaining visible wounds".
The mop-up operation was due to happen this weekend, but the authorities earlier this week did a U-turn and declared that "there would be no second hunt", and if wildlife staff "were to track down the animal and find that it was suffering they would put it out of its misery - but Perot no longer had any claim to its head".
Perot Jr's opinion, backed by lawyers, is: "I've paid for it and I want it". Quite how much he coughed for the "single rhino trophy hunting package" is unknown, but such deals commonly cost 500,000 rand ($66,000). Forbes currently rates Perot Jr as worth $1.25bn. ®
The Independent Online has full details of the affair here. ®