Another large-tusked elephant has been removed from the gene pool, this time by a Russian hunter in Zimbabwe. The giant elephant was collared for research purposes, a fact that the entire hunting party of seven people (including a government ranger and two trackers from the community with detailed knowledge of the area) claim not to have noticed at the time. This was “a genuine mistake due to a lack of communication” said the Zimbabwe Professional Hunters and Guides Association.
According to our sources the 14-day hunt was legal, taking place in a community-run conservancy called Naivasha bordering on Gonarezhou National Park in the remote south-east of Zimbabwe. The collared bull elephant made the fatal error of wandering across the unfenced boundary between the two pieces of land in February this year, and had been resident in the Naivasha area since then.
The hunt was managed by professional hunter Martin Pieters of Martin Pieters Safaris, a member of Safari Club International and, according to his website, chairman of the Zimbabwe Professional Hunters and Guides Association (Editor: we have received information that he is no longer chairman).
The Frankfurt Zoological Society, who collared this and other elephants for research purposes, issued a carefully-worded statement about the incident, and noted that “There is no law that protects a collared animal from being hunted in Zimbabwe, but there is general acceptance that the ethical position is that a hunter will avoid shooting an animal with a collar.” They go on to say that “The data from this bull has been captured and will help us with our ongoing efforts to find solutions, together with our local and international partners, to conservation questions in a world where the challenges to find space for wildlife and their habitats are becoming ever more complicated.”