A Croatian big game hunter was shot and killed during a hunting expedition in South Africa on Saturday. Pero Jelinic, whose reputation describes him as having “hunted everything that could be hunted in Europe,” had killed one captive-bred lion and had taken aim at a second lion when a “stray” bullet struck him.
According to the Total Croatia News, police are now investigating the incident as a possible homicide. The property where Jelinic, 75, died, raises lions in captivity to be hunted as trophies in a ‘sport’ has been widely condemned and is called “canned hunting.” In South Africa, there are more lions held in captivity than lions that live in the wild. Although owners of these farms try to say they do not hunt and kill lions, most of these breeders sell their stock to be shot dead by rich trophy hunters from Europe and North America. The lions have been held captive all their lives, and when released to an enclosed area have no idea that man is their mortal enemy. Quickly they become the innocent victims of rifles, handguns and crossbows. Not much hunting required!
In January, the Dallas Safari Club released its position on Captive Bred Lion Hunting stating:
“Few animals in Africa, or anywhere, are as iconic as the African lion. As hunters we understand the benefits of lion hunting. Dallas Safari Club has stated, and firmly believes, that in the fight to save lions, hunters are their best allies… In South Africa, captive bred lion hunting is legal. Several professional hunting associations and hunting conservation organizations have commented on the negative impact that captive bred lion hunting has on them and the hunting community in general…”
The organization ends with the statement that captive bred lion hunting is not a practice that is in keeping with its values of ethical and fair chase hunting.
Humane organizations view lion hunting as cruel and unnecessary. The Humane Society of the United States remains highly opposed to the hunting of any living creature for fun, trophy or sport. When all avenues have been exhausted where it becomes necessary to kill some wildlife, it should be performed by responsible and humane methods
According to a close friend of Jelinic, the wealthy hotel owner from the island of Pag, wanted the head of a lion “to crown his rich hunting career.” The hunter had been staying at Leeubosch Lodge, a four-hour drive from Johannesburg; 40 miles from the border with Botswana.
Read more about trophy hunting and its dire implications here.
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