A German hunter has killed the largest elephant ever to be spotted in Zimbabwe just months after an American dentist killed Cecil the Lion.
The unnamed hunter paid $60,000 for a permit to hunt the majestic creature. The elephant is believed to be 40 to 60 years old with tusks weighing 120 pounds. The animal was shot and killed on October 8 near Gonarezhou National Park. The hunter’s goal was to kill the "Big Five": elephants, lions, leopards, buffalo and rhinoceros.
Conservationists have expressed their outrage at the killing of a creature who may have been the biggest elephant killed in Africa for almost 30 years.
But the hunter who accompanied the shooter defended his client saying, “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. This elephant was probably 60 years old and had spread its seed many many times over.”
He argued hunts like these help give money back to the local community.
But a Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences report found that 100,000 elephants have been killed by hunters in three years — dropping Africa’s elephant population by 64 percent in the last decade.
"It's hard to swallow that people are just destroying all the majestic animals that we've got in the country," Johnny Rodrigues, chairman of the country's Conservation Task Force, told BBC. "When you see an animal like that, which you haven't seen for years, you should actually put a collar on him and use him as a marketing tool."
Rodrigues noted the elephant could have lived for another 15 years.
Banner photo credit: Steve Garvie