A hunter has shot dead what is believed to be the biggest elephant killed for “sport” in Africa for 30 years, according to reports.
The animal, one of the largest elephants ever seen in Zimbabwe, was killed on 8 October in an area set aside for private hunting, which borders the Gonarezhou National Park, The Daily Telegraph reported.
A German hunter reportedly paid about £39,000 for a permit to shoot a large bull elephant and was led by an experienced local guide.
Organisers of the hunt declined to name the hunter, who went to Zimbabwe to shoot the so-called Big Five of targets: an elephant, a leopard, a lion, a buffalo and a rhinoceros.
Elephants are being killed at such a rate – mainly by poachers – that there are fears they could become extinct within a generation.
Anthony Kaschula, who runs a photographic safari company, took pictures of the hunt and posted them on his Facebook page, but now appears to have removed them.
He wrote on the page that the elephant should not have been killed.
“We have no control over poaching but we do have control over hunting policy that should acknowledge that animals such as this one are of far more value alive (to both hunters and non-hunters) than dead,” he said.
“Individual elephants such as these should be accorded their true value as a national heritage and should be off limits to hunting.
“In this case, we have collectively failed to ensure that legislation is not in place to help safeguard such magnificent animals.”
Animals such as this one are of far more value alive (to both hunters and non-hunters) than dead
Louis Muller, chairman of the Zimbabwe Professional Hunters & Guides Association, said the hunters had not realised the elephant was so large when the German man fired the fatal shot.
“He [the local hunter] told me when he and his client were stalking this elephant he saw the tusks were big but did not realise just how big until afterwards and he saw them close,” he told the Telegraph.
“He is going back to see if he can find the lower jaw and bring it back so we can accurately age this elephant.
The most controversial animal killings
The most controversial animal killings
1/6 Cincinnati Zoo worker shots and kills Harambe, the 17-year-old gorilla
Harambe, a 17-year-old gorilla was shot and killed by a Cincinnati Zoo worker after a three-year-old boy climbed into a gorilla enclosure and was grabbed and dragged by Harambe. The incident was recorded on video and received broad international coverage and commentary, including controversy over the choice to kill Harambe. A number of primatologists and conservationists wrote later that the zoo had no other choice under the circumstances, and that it highlighted the danger of zoo animals in close proximity to humans and the need for better standards of care
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
2/6 Walt Palmer (left), from Minnesota, who killed Cecil, the Zimbabwean lion (pictured here with another lion shot in Africa)
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3/6 Kendall Jones hunting images
Kendall Jones, a 19-year-old Texas Tech university student, has provoked worldwide fury after posting pictures of herself smiling next to animals she hunted, including a lion, rhinoceros, antelope, leopard, elephant, zebra and hippopotamus
4/6 Rebecca Francis hunting images
Rebecca Francis, a huntress who has killed dozens of wild animals has been sent death wishes by furious social media users after a picture showing her lying down next to a dead giraffe was circulated. Rebecca Francis has a website and Facebook page dedicated to the animals she has killed in hunts across Africa and America. Francis, a prolific hunter who has also co-hosted the television show Eye of the Hunter, regularly posts pictures of herself posing next to dead bears, giraffes, buffaloes and zebras, among other animals. She uses a bow and arrow to kill her prey
5/6 The slaughter of Marius, an 18-month-old healthy giraffe in Copenhagen Zoo
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6/6 Swiss Dählhölzli zoo kills healthy brown bear cub
A Switzerland zoo faced heavy criticism from animal rights groups, after keepers put down a healthy brown bear cub to spare it from being bullied by its dominant male father. The 360 kg male bear Misha had already killed one of his 11-week old cubs in public and was bullying the second, staff at the zoo said, because he was jealous of the attention the cubs were receiving from their mother, Masha. Both adult brown bears had been donated to Bern’s Dählhölzli zoo in 2009. Campaigners condemned staff there for not separating the cubs, who are being referred to as Baby Bear Two and Baby Bear Three, and their mother from Misha after their birth in January
“We checked everywhere and this elephant has never been seen before, not in Zimbabwe nor Kruger [the national park in South Africa]. We would have known it because its tusks are huge.
“There have been five or six giant tuskers shot in the last year or so, and we knew all of them, but none as big as this one.”
Hunting websites speculated that this elephant was the biggest shot in Africa for three decades.
Poachers are thought to kill around 50,000 elephants a year in order to supply the illegal ivory trade, as well as providing bushmeat and ingredients for traditional Chinese medicine.
In July, an American dentist sparked an international uproar when he shot dead a lion known as Cecil with a bow and arrow. The 13-year-old animal, who was fitted with a tracking collar, was being studied by researchers and was well known for being friendly towards humans.
The killing sparked global outrage over the hunting of endangered animals.Reuse content