This is one kill that brings back memories of the shooting of Cecil the lion that caused global outrage. A hunter from Germany paid nearly £40,000 or $60,000 to shoot one of the largest elephants ever seen in Zimbabwe.
Conservationists are mourning the loss of one of Africa’s most majestic creatures lying dead on the ground as a white Western hunter poses proudly by its side.
The elephant killed is estimated to be between 40 and 60 years old. Its tusks, which touch the ground in a photograph taken moments after its shooting, weigh an estimated 120lb each. The elephant was shot on October 8th in a private hunting expedition in the South Gonarezhou National Park.
The German national was aided by professional trackers and locals. The organizers have refused to name the person. But apparently, he had traveled to Zimbabwe to conduct a 21-day game hunt for the Big Five – elephants, leopards, lions, buffalo and rhinoceros.
However there is mystery about the elephant’s identity, because it has never been seen before in Zimbabwe. It might have come from South Africa, as there is no border between the Kruger National Park and Gonarezhou.
The kill though is being celebrated in hunting forums around the world. It was first suggested in these forums that it might have been the biggest elephant killed in Africa for almost 30 years.
Conservationists and photography safari operators have expressed their outrage, saying the animal was one of a kind and should have been preserved for all to see. Anthony Kaschula, who operates a safari firm in Gonarezhou, posted pictures of the hunt on Facebook. He says the elephant would have been celebrated by visitors and locals.
“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”, he says.
The man who helped arrange the hunt, defended his client, “This was a legal hunt and the client did nothing wrong,” he said. “We hunters have thick skins and we know what the greenies will say”.