SEe link for photo.
Harare – A social media outcry over the killing last week of a huge elephant in southern Zimbabwe has rekindled memories of Cecil the lion, although this hunt appeared to have been legal.
The elephant, described as being one of the biggest in living memory, was allegedly killed on October 8 by a German hunter on the southern border of Zimbabwe’s Gonarezhou National Park.
Johnny Rodrigues of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force (ZCTF) told News24 the report was true.
“We don’t know if [the elephant] was from Kruger National Park or from Zimbabwe, but he wandered into a safari area and was shot.”
Hunters on the pro-hunting forum accuratereloading.com identified the safari area as the Malapati concession. There was no suggestion this hunt was illegal, unlike the one that killed Cecil the lion in July.
Many of those who left comments on the accuratereloading.com forum congratulated the hunter with one even suggesting this could be “the best African trophy taken in the last 20 years”. However, there was also a lone voice of caution.
“Shooting an elephant like that is kind of like shooting the last Tasmanian devil,” said one contributor identified as Mike.
The debate on social media stirred up by the news of the huge elephant’s killing has echoes of the outrage that followed Cecil’s killing in early July. He was hunted first with a bow and arrow and then with a gun by US dentist Walter Palmer.
Zimbabwe’s environment minister Oppah Muchinguri this week backed down on calls for Palmer to be extradited, saying the dentist’s papers were “in order” and he was free to come back to Zimbabwe as a tourist.
Theo Bronkhorst, the Zimbabwean hunter who arranged the hunt, was due back in court on Thursday over the Cecil case, but his case was postponed until Tuesday. Bronkhorst’s lawyers were hopeful the Zimbabwe government’s decision not to press charges against Palmer for Cecil’s death may influence Bronkhorst’s case.