A German national has been accused of killing one of the largest elephants ever seen in Zimbabwe. But the hunt organizer is defending the hunter and refusing to disclose his name.
The elephant had reportedly never been seen before in the area where he was shot - near the border of Zimbabwe’s Gonarezhou National Park. Chairman of the Zimbabwe conservation task force Johnny Rodrigues told the Guardian that “Such old, large elephants” are “very, very rare” and “almost never sighted.”
The Telegraph, which provides a photo of the hunter with his victim, says the hunter paid a lot to obtain the correct license for a 21-day hunt that allowed killing elephants and other big game. Nevertheless, Rodriquez told the Guardian, the hunter “should have used his common sense” and reported the elephant to authorities so it could be collared and protected.
While the man who arranged the hunt called it good for the country and local economy, others say this rare elephant would have been worth far more alive than dead.
But this should not be about money. Not only is the senseless killing of any elephant seen as a repulsive crime by many, conservationists are warning that if it continues, elephants could be extinct by the end of the decade.
Botswana and Kenya have banned big-game hunting altogether. Sign this petition to ask Zimbabwe to do the same and put an end to the senseless killing of these majestic creatures.
We, the undersigned, agree that the killing of elephants in Zimbabwe must end.
At the very least, the hunter should have refrained from killing such a rare elephant as this one.
According to the Telegraph’s report, “Louis Muller, chairman of the Zimbabwe Professional Hunters & Guides Association, said the hunter had only realised how large the 'tusker' was once he had been shot.” However based on the photo of the elephant published in the Telegraph and descriptions from the Telegraph, the Guardian and other sources, the size of this elephant and its tusks were so extraordinary, it’s hard to believe that the hunter didn’t target it for that very reason.
In fact, the Telegraph noted that “The kill was celebrated in hunting forums around the world, where it was suggested he might have been the biggest elephant killed in Africa for almost 30 years.”
Rodriquez sums up the senselessness of this particular killing and has vowed to find out and expose the hunter’s name so that he can face the same public outrage that Walter Palmer (Cecil’s killer) did.
“These big animals, when they get sighted, should be collared,” he said. “There should be a law to prevent them being killed. Yes, they have gone past their productive life, but these hunters are acting like gods and taking their lives away. We should be protecting them, utilising them as a marketing tool, so tourists go and see them.
“Let’s have some ethics. Just because they have money, they don’t need to do it. It’s only so they can mount them on a bloody wall. What is that?”
With elephants’ risk of extinction at the end of this decade, certainly the banning of big game hunting in Zimbabwe, in the very near future, is inevitable. This senseless killing should serve as a sign that a more appropriate time for that banning is now.
We ask the government of Zimbabwe to ban big game hunting altogether - now.