A German hunter has killed one of the largest elephants ever known in Zimbabwe, reigniting the controversy over big game hunting in this country over the death of the famous lion Cecil this summer at the hands of an American dentist. The tourist would have paid 53,700 euros for permission to shoot down an elephant.
"The elephant's tusks were so large, weighing 122 pounds (55 kilograms), that they dragged it across the ground when it walked," said a member of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, Johnny Rodrigues. Experts consider that the tusks of the elephant, killed on October 8 in a legal hunt, are the largest ever seen in the region.
The elephant, aged 40 to 60, was killed near Zimbabwe's Gonarezhou National Park on Oct. 8 during a "legal hunt," involving a German on safari, reserve conservationists reported in the southeast of the country and very close to South Africa. According to The Telegraph, the hunter would have paid $ 60,000 (about 53,700 euros to change) for the permit.
The elephant died in the Malapati Game Reserve in Zimbabwe, which means it was outside the national park and therefore its hunting was legal, Rodrigues said. "We do not know if the elephant lived in the Kruger National Park (South Africa) or in Zimbabwe, but we can assure that the animal was in the safari area when it was killed," said the conservationist.
In the case of the lion Cecil, hunted outside Hwange National Park in northeast Zimbabwe, the animal "was lured out of the park to be hunted." "Now, there is no evidence that the same thing happened with the elephant," Rodrigues clarified.
The death of the lion Cecil opened the debate on legal hunting that is practiced in many African countries. The 13-year-old animal was lured with prey tied to a vehicle as bait to be shot outside the park, so it was technically no longer illegal to hunt it.
After the hunting of the famous lion, the Government of Zimbabwe banned the big game, with the exception of some reserves like the southern part of the Hwange Natural Park. In the past three weeks, 40 elephants have been poisoned with cyanide in the vicinity of Hwange National Park and Lake Kariba.