Zim­babwe says ele­phant was killed in le­gal hunt

The Washington Post Sunday - - FROM PAGE ONE - BY FARAI MUT­SAKA — As­so­ci­ated Press

harare, zim­babwe — The killing of a huge ele­phant in Zim­babwe was con­firmed Satur­day by the na­tional parks agency, which de­fended the le­gal hunt as a source of much-needed money for com­mu­ni­ties liv­ing near game parks.

Wildlife con­ser­va­tion­ists are livid about the shoot­ing of an ele­phant said to be one of the big­gest in Africa.

The ele­phant was killed by a “for­eign client” in a sa­fari hunt­ing area bor­der­ing Gonarezhou Na­tional Park in south­east Zim­babwe, the na­tional parks said in a state­ment Satur­day.

The killing was le­gal but “un­eth­i­cal,” said Johnny Ro­drigues, of the Zim­babwe Con­ser­va­tion Task Force.

The con­tro­versy over the ele­phant comes af­ter the killing of a well-known lion named Ce­cil in July sparked in­ter­na­tional out­rage. At least 40 ele­phants were poi­soned by cyanide in the coun­try’s big­gest game re­serve, Hwange Na­tional Park, ear­lier this month.

The big male ele­phant was killed in the Mali­pati Sa­fari area, where le­gal hunt­ing chan­nels funds to poor ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties liv­ing near game re­serves, the parks said.

“Such hunts go a long way in as­sist­ing com­mu­ni­ties in the sur­round­ing area,” the parks state­ment said.

The ele­phant was killed Oct. 7, and its ivory tusks weighed 121 pounds and 119 pounds, ac­cord­ing to the parks.

“That’s a premium tro­phy,” said Louis Muller, pres­i­dent of the Pro­fes­sional Hun­ters and Guides As­so­ci­a­tion. “Some big game hun­ters can come back to Zim­babwe ev­ery year for 30 years and spend up to a mil­lion dol­lars over that pe­riod with the hope of killing such an an­i­mal.”

Muller said the fact that the ele­phant sur­vived long enough to grow such large tusks is ev­i­dence that Zim­babwe’s con­ser­va­tion ef­forts are suc­cess­fully pro­tect­ing ele­phants.

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