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Amidst a flurry of violent criticism across multiple social media platforms, on Thursday evening Corey Knowlton joined "Piers Morgan Live" for an exclusive primetime interview, during which he offered his explanation as to why he willingly paid 350-thousand dollars for the chance to hunt a back rhinoceros.
As winner of the Dallas Safari Club's auction, Knowlton earned a hunting permit from the Namibian government, and is slated to travel to the southern African nation of Namibia for what he calls a conservation hunt.
Having joined the program last summer after reeling in a record-breaking shark, on Thursday Knowlton returned for a live discussion, and revealed why he selected the CNN host as the man with whom he was willing to share his story:
"Piers, just like the gun thing, you've been attacked just the way I am about your views of guns, okay? We're human beings, both you and I," noted the host of “Jim Shockey’s The Professionals” on Outdoor Channel. "I don't think you should be hated because you believe that. I don't think I should be hated because I lead my life a certain way. They're threatening my children, Piers. They're threatening to kill me."
Knowlton fancies himself an expert hunter, and he views his work as part of the natural cycle of life, in which population is controlled, and species are protected. Suffice it to say, the masses haven't shared his perspective:
"I had no idea that it would be this visceral. I had no idea that they would be attacking my two-year-old daughter and my seven-year-old daughter and my beautiful young wife, and they'd want to kill us all and burn us, and make a "Saw" movie out of us," said Knowlton. "These are the type of things that I'm getting, okay?"
But the list of those lobbing criticism at Knowlton and the organization arranging his hunt isn't limited to simply faceless users of Twitter and Facebook. Legendary game show host Bob Barker has also voiced his objections, penning an open letter to PETA in which he offered the following notion:
"True conservationists are those who pay money to keep rhinos alive—in the form of highly lucrative eco-tourism—as opposed to those who pay money for the cheap thrill of taking this magnificent animal’s life and putting his head on a wall."
Live on air, Morgan asked his guest to respond to the longtime host of "The Price is Right."
"He said what he said about it, alright? And Bob, he's a well-intended person," said Knowlton. "But if I want to learn about 'The Price is Right' and I want to learn about Plinko, I'll talk to Bob Barker. If I want to learn about conservation, I'm going to defer to the experts at the IUCN, I'm going to defer to the experts at CITES, okay. And the fact of the matter is, all this hate that you're talking about, the one thing I will say to Bob Barker is, the price was wrong! The contribution would have been much higher and everybody would have been much better for it, even up to a million dollars, they scared these people away because they didn't want to go through what i'm going through now."
Watch the clip for more of Morgan's interview with Knowlton, and for the next edition of "Piers Morgan Live," watch CNN every night at 9.
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