Trophy-hunters in South Africa will be allowed to kill twice as many endangered black rhinos

South Africa has won the right to hunt more endangered black rhinos, after arguing the money raised from trophy hunting will help conservation.

The decision to almost double the number of rhinos which can be killed was made at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in Geneva this week.

Approximately 5000 black rhinos are alive today - 2000 of those are in South Africa, reports The Guardian.

Since 2003, South Africa has been permitted to sell hunting rights for five black rhinos per year.

Now, the increase means 0.5 percent of the population can be hunted annually, which equates to nine rhinos a year. 

The country said adult males would be targeted to protect breeding females.

It also promised it wouldn't use the full quota if the rhino population fell below a certain level - but there were no specifications as to what this level would be.

Supporters of the legislation argued increasing the number of poached rhinos would increase numbers overall, reports The Guardian.

Killing older males would reduce conflicts between rhino, as older males sometimes prevent younger ones from breeding, said Tom Milliken from Traffic, a wildlife trade monitoring group.

"It is a positive; you are basically preventing bar room brawls and getting faster reproduction rates going," he said.

The amount of money raised from hunting the rhinos is significant says Milliken.

He says they cost tens of thousands to kill. 

"It really is providing conservation funds."

But the Wildlife Conservation Society disagrees.

"WCS remains concerned about the impact of illegal hunting and trafficking of black rhinos for their horns," said Elizabeth Bennett.

"We encourage major efforts to ensure their protection, the prevention of trafficking and that any trophy hunting is truly sustainable and supports not undermines the conservation of the species."