A German hunter shot dead an elephant that’s believed to be among the biggest killed in Africa in almost three decades.
The hunter killed the pachyderm, thought to be 40 to 60 years old, on October 8 during a 21-day hunting trip in a private hunting concession bordering the Gonarezhou National Park in southern Zimbabwe.
He paid €60,000 for a permit to shoot a large bull elephant.
The animal’s death comes almost three months after that of Cecil the Lion, whose killing in July by American dentist Walter Palmer in an illegal hunt sparked an international outcry that led the US Fish and Wildlife Service to start an investigation. It also prompted some animal-rights activists to renew their calls for an end to trophy hunting.
A photograph taken just after the elephant’s shooting shows its tusks weighed about 120 pounds.
The identity of the elephant remains unknown but it is thought to have been in its mid-40s and had not been spotted in the park before it was killed.
Johnny Rodrigues, chairman for Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, confirmed the death of the elephant.
He said it is suspected that the animal may have come from the Kruger Park in South Africa.
“A huge elephant with tusks weighing 122 pounds was killed in Gonarezhou by a German hunter. We suspect this elephant may have come from Kruger Park,” he said.
“His tusks were so big that they dragged along the ground when he was walking,” he said.
‘The most disappointing thing is that when a local Zimbabwean kills an animal for food for his family, he is sentenced to between five and 15 years in prison but when a wealthy foreign hunter comes in and shoots an animal, he gets away with it. What message are we giving the people?’
Poachers killed 26 elephants using cyanide at two locations within Hwange, Zimbabwe’s biggest game reserve, Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife chairman Alvin Ncube said.
Patrolling rangers discovered the carcasses on Tuesday, according to Bhejani Trust and the National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.
Bhejani Trust undertakes joint animal monitoring and welfare work with the parks agency Parks spokeswoman Caroline Washaya Moyo said 14 tusks were recovered from the elephants and others were not recovered.
She said rangers found 16 of the elephants in an area known as Lupande and 10 others in Chakabvi.
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