Conservationists have announced that another collared bull elephant has been shot by a professional hunter in an area adjacent to Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe. This comes in the wake of a similar incident where a collared bull elephant was shot in the same area on March 7.
Gonarezhou National Park’s elephant population is well protected, with a population estimated at over 11,000 individuals. There are currently no fences that limit their movement, or that of other wildlife, out of the park and are free to wander the wider ecosystem. In order to monitor the elephants’ movement, and gather data for conservation purposes, satellite collars were placed on 22 individual elephants in the park by the Gonarezhou Conservation Trust (GCT).
In a statement released by the trust, they said that “whilst it is not illegal for a hunter to shoot a collared elephant, the general position taken by the Zimbabwe Professional Hunters and Guides Association (ZHPGA) is that it is unethical and should be avoided wherever possible”.
They go on to say that “the operator was well aware of the ethical stance and, as a result of previous similar incidences, was aware of the potential for collared individuals to roam into hunting areas outside of the park”.
The ranger assigned to monitor the hunt has been suspended by GCT and the elephant’s ivory confiscated pending the outcome of an investigation.
GCT say that this is a significant blow to their conservation efforts in the greater ecosystem and “incidents such as these threaten to undo much of the progress made and reinforce the need for stricter adherence to the ethical code of conduct for any hunting around the park”.