One of the largest African elephants ever seen has been killed in a paid-for hunting expedition, the Telegraph reports.
Just three months after the widely reported hunt of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe, the country has come into the news again with these reports. The elephant in question was estimated to be between 40 to 60 years old, although no definite information has been found about its past. It had never previously been seen in Zimbabwe’s Gonarezhou National Park.
The German hunter, whose name has not been disclosed, reportedly paid $60,000 for the hunt as part of a 21-day hunt with experienced hunting guides. The animal was killed on the 8th October, in a private hunting reserve bordering the National Park. With a tusk weight of 120lb, the animal is estimated to be the biggest elephant killed in 30 years; a fact that is sure to shock many animal rights supporters.
This example stirs up the debate about whether or not hunting should be legalised. Zimbabwe’s hunting laws came into question with the death of the country’s beloved Cecil the Lion, and this example is sure to add wood to the fire. Following the media outrage after Cecil’s death, the Zimbabwe Parks & Wildlife Management Authority pledged to tighten controls on paid-for hunts, their website stating: ‘following the illegal killing of the iconic lion, Cecil […] it has become necessary that the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority further tightens hunting regulations in all areas outside the Park’s estate’.
Controversy surrounds examples like this, but the hunting organisation who arranged the expedition defended their actions, stating that it was completely legal. They also argued for the benefits of paid-for hunting expeditions; that whilst some may consider it an unethical practice, it generates a large amount of revenue that can be used to benefit the local communities. The debate surrounding this practice is bound to continue, situations like this bringing it to the forefront of many people’s minds.