A huge bull elephant was shot dead by a Russian trophy hunter in Zimbabwe, even though the animal had been wearing a radio collar universally known as a research tag and considered unethical to shoot. The elephant, known as a “big tusker” because of the size of his tusks, was killed last month outside the Gonarezhou National Park.
According to the African Geographic, the elephant had been collared for research purposes and known by the entire hunting party which included a government ranger and two trackers, however all of the men stated they had not noticed the device until after the animal was killed.
The Frankfurt Zoological Society, who collared this and other elephants for research purposes, issued a statement about the disturbing incident:
“There is no law that protects a collared animal from being hunted in Zimbabwe, but there is general acceptance that the ethical position is that a hunter will avoid shooting an animal with a collar. The data from this bull has been captured and will help us with our ongoing efforts to find solutions, together with our local and international partners, to conservation questions in a world where the challenges to find space for wildlife and their habitats are becoming ever more complicated.”
One year ago, National Geographic reported a 50-year-old African elephant named Satao II had been found dead while feeding in the eastern region of Tsavo Trust in Kenya. The elephant was believed to have been poisoned by an arrow for his immense tusks; Satao II tusks weighed 112 and 111 pounds each. The two poachers were arrested and never allowed to sell the tusks for the illegal ivory markets.
There are only 25 of the “big tuskers” believed to be alive in all of Africa, and it is thought these animals could go extinct in our lifetime. Female elephants prefer mating with the older males, meaning the “tuskers” are needed for the preservation of the species. The highly socialized animals respect the senior members of the herds – these are the very animals who teach the younger elephants their social and survival skills.
What else is trophy hunting about besides greed?
(Photo of hunter shot elephant in Zimbabwe via FB La voix des animaux)
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Animal lovers outraged over hunter’s photos of slaughtered wolves – read more here.