Harry Cockburn, The Independent
A trophy hunter has reportedly shot dead a rare large-tusked elephant in Zimbabwe, four years after killing the largest elephant hunted in Africa in three decades.
Photographs of the huge elephant show it on its side on the ground after it was killed in Gonarezhou National Park.
The hunt was apparently organised by JWK Safaris who posted the image to their Facebook page. In the photos two men can be seen with their faces blurred.
The post, which was subsequently deleted, appeared to name a “professional hunter” as the man who killed the elephant.
The post read: “Morning Hunters. Here are two photos of a trophy elephant bull that was hunted yesterday in the Gonarezhou Safari areas of Zimbabwe.
“These tusks have not been weighed yet.
“This is an exceptional Gonarezhou trophy bull with long, thick and symmetrical tusks that are typical of the Gonarezhou and Kruger gene.”
According to AfricaGeographic.com the hunter is the same person who shot dead a bull elephant in 2015 estimated to be the largest killed since 1986.
At the time, the hunters reportedly claimed the hunt was ethical as the elephant was past his breeding years. However, elephant experts later said the bull was 35-40 years old and was of prime breeding age.
There is concern regarding the loss of the genes that such a large tusker carries.
Elephants are now believed to be growing smaller tusks because poaching and hunting has removed so many big-tusked elephants from the gene pool, the National Geographic said in 2015.
The elephants apparently targeted by JWK Safaris roam between national parks and the adjacent hunting areas, the organisation says on their website: “All of the Zimbabwean hunting concessions that JWK Safaris have on offer are open to the adjoined National Parks that serve as feeder parks to the hunting areas.”
The website adds: “These are serious hunter hunts in big game country. We book on average 60 big game hunters a year in Zimbabwe and have done so for some years now.”
JWK Safaris have been contacted for comment.