A trophy hunter has allegedly shot and killed a rare large-tusked elephant in Zimbabwe, just four years after they killed the largest elephant to be hunted in Africa in 30 years.
The hunt was reportedly organised by JWK Safaris who shared a picture on their Facebook page showing two men – with their faces blurred out – standing over the huge body and tusks of the elephant after it was killed in Gonarezhou National Park.
The Facebook post was subsequently deleted, though it named a ‘professional hunter’ as the man behind the killing.
The safari’s post read, as per Africa Geographic:
Here are two photos of a trophy elephant bull that was hunted yesterday in the Gonarezhou Safari areas of Zimbabwe on a hunt guided by PH Nixon Dzingai.
Carl booked this hunt for PH Grant Taylor who is in photo with Nixon. 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.
Hunters best wishes
JWK Safaris — with Grant Taylor.
According to Africa Geographic, the same ‘professional hunter’ was responsible for the 2015 death of the largest hunted elephant in Africa since 1986. At the time, the hunters claimed the death was ‘ethical’, as they believed the elephant to be past its breeding age.
Experts revealed, however, the elephant bull was between 35 and 40 years old – prime breeding age for elephants of its type.
Not only was the elephant prime breeding age, but older males are vital for herd dynamics, as they teach innumerable life lessons to the younger elephants.
According to National Geographic, the loss of such big-tusked elephants can have a significant impact on herds, affecting the elephant gene pool as a whole.
Vicki Fishlock, resident scientist at Amboseli Trust for Elephants, a research and conservation organization in Kenya, said:
Old and experienced individuals are crucial. They are so much more than ‘a breeder’—by the time these animals reach this size, they have been parts of social networks for five or six decades and have accumulated social and ecological experience that younger animals learn from.
Researchers also believe elephant tusk size is on the decline.
Elephants are now considered to be evolving smaller tusks, due to so many of the large-tusked species being hunted and therefore removed from the gene pool.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.