Chronicle (Zimbabwe)

Angry elephant
The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority has said the killing
of a collared bull elephant by a Russian trophy hunter outside Gonarezhou
National Park was legal as there is no law that prohibits the hunting of
animals under research.

The elephant which was wearing a research tag was shot dead by a Russian
trophy hunter on March 7 about 5km outside the Gonarezhou National Park. In
an [interview] yesterday, ZimParks spokesperson, Mr Tinashe Farawo, said
the hunting was above board.

That elephant was legally hunted; everything which was done was above
board. Yes, it was collared. After the harvesting of the elephant, the
collar was returned to the researcher. It’s important for people to
understand that we don’t have a law that protects collared animals from
being harvested or hunted,” said Mr Farawo.

He said the hunters did not see the collar and mistakenly hunted down the
elephant. ?It’s also important to note that when people are harvesting or
hunting these elephants it’s difficult to see the collar. By the way it was
not harvested in the park. We don’t allow hunting in the park.  It was
hunted in the safari area and it’s allowed in line with international
regulations the CITES and the like,” he said.

Mr Farawo said various stakeholders have been pushing for a law that
protects the iconic animals.

Some of the issues that stakeholders are pushing that the researcher or
the person monitoring the animal must also communicate with the hunters so
that at least these animals are protected. There is no law. Stakeholders
are saying let’s have a law,” he said.

As it is now, harvesting a collared animal is legal in Zimbabwe. Nothing
amiss about what happened in Masvingo”.

International media reports say while it is not illegal to shoot animals
wearing tags, it is considered unethical. It is reported that the hunters
claimed not to have noticed the tag until after the animal was dead.

The bull elephant had been tagged inside the national park but had wandered
outside the unfenced boundary into an area known as the Naivasha Community
Conservancy, which has been set aside for hunting by locals.

Reports say Martin Pieters, ex-chairman of the Zimbabwe Professional
Hunters and Guides Association, was leading a legal 14-day excursion near
Gonarezhou when the killing happened.

Pieters and his Russian client, who has not been named, were with his
unarmed friend, two trackers, a parks ranger and a local council
representative when they picked up the elephant’s tracks on day six of the
expedition.

The group began tracking the animal and found it in thick bush, meaning
they were not able to see the whole body of the elephant.

Pieters, after seeing the elephant?s large tusks, ordered his client to
shoot, the Zimbabwe Professional Hunter and Guides Association says. The
bull had been in the area since around February 20. Pieters had not been
made aware of this fact, reports say.

Asked by Netwerk 24 about the loss of the elephant, Pieters said: ?It does
not matter, the hunt was completely legal.

The tag belongs to the Frankfurt Zoological Society which collared
elephants in the park in 2009 and again in 2016. It is not clear precisely
when this male was collared.

The killing of the giant bull follows the killing of Cecil the lion by
hunter, Walter Palmer in Zimbabwe in July 2015. The lion was also tagged by
researchers.

http://www.chronicle.co.zw/zimparks-okays-research-jumbo-shooting/

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This news service is provided by Save the Elephants.