A trophy hunter from Croatia has been shot dead in a ‘freak accident’ while out on an expedition in South Africa.
Pero Jelinic had reportedly already shot one lion dead and was in the process of stalking another when he was ‘struck by a stray bullet’ and killed on a remote farm over the weekend.
His friend, Slavko Pernar, said the 75-year-old was a ‘passionate hunter’ who’d travelled to get a ‘lion trophy’ after shooting ‘everything that could be hunted in Europe’. Gross.
Police said it’s not clear who fired the shot which killed Jelinic.
He’d travelled to the country’s North West province with two friends to hunt cats, ‘to complete his extensive trophy collection’ when he was struck by the bullet.
According to a close friend and passionate fellow hunter, the hotelier from the island of Pag, coveted the head of a lion ‘to crown his rich hunting career’ and had leased his hotel to devote his time to fulfill his dream.
The property where Saturday’s killing took place keeps lions in captivity purely to be hunted as trophies in a ‘sport’ which has been widely condemned.
Pernar told Croatia’s Jutarnji List newspaper:
Pero was a passionate hunter of big and small game and in search of that he travelled most of the world.
For the past year he had leased his hotel to dedicate himself to the things he planned to accomplish and enjoyed a deserved retirement.
He, unfortunately, received the ugliest end – he died in South Africa doing what he loved. His office, a hunting hall, was full of trophies, deer and bear specimens and everything that could be hunted in Croatia and Europe.
The ill-fated hunt was based at Leeubosch Lodge, a four-hour drive from Johannesburg and just 40 miles from the border with Botswana.
The owner, Dr Gideon Engelbrecht, told News24 he was not at the farm when the incident occurred.
I was at my surgery when I received the call. I arranged for a helicopter to take the man to hospital, but that’s all I am going to give you at this stage, because the case is still under investigation.
South Africa plays host to a lucrative and legal, but highly controversial, captive-bred lion hunting industry, commonly known as ‘canned’ lion-hunting.
The industry has came under fire in recent years from a host of reputable international and African hunting organisations.
Hunts involve animals being kept in confined, fenced areas, where they have no chance of escape.
Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone told MailOnline police ‘do not suspect any foul play’ was involved in the shooting on Saturday:
The injured man was air-lifted to the nearby hospital by helicopter, but doctors were unable to save the man’s life.
A case of culpable homicide has been opened and police are also investigating charges of illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.
At this stage police have said it’s not clear who fired the fatal shot which killed Mr Jelinic and their investigations are ongoing.