Elephants are known as some of the most majestic creatures in the wild. That’s why it’s so heartbreaking that scientists are warning that they are on the verge of extinction, and that they may disappear within our lifetimes.
Recently, a beloved elephant with giant tusks was killed by a trophy hunter from Russia.
This Zimbabwe elephant was extremely rare because of his giant tusks. Scientists had already provided the elephant with a radio collar so that they could keep track of him as they conducted research and protected him. Unfortunately, the collar did not stop the hunter from taking the elephant’s life.
The elephant lived near the Gonarezhou in Zimbabwe, which is known as the “place of the elephant.” It is unknown if the Russian hunter was aware of the elephant’s radio collar when he shot him. There is typically an ethical code among hunters in this area that they do not shoot elephants who wear radio collars.
Zimbwabe Professional Hunters and Guides Association called this incident a “genuine mistake” and said the Russian hunter had not been informed of the local rules.
“There is no law that protects a collared animal from being hunted in Zimbabwe,” read a statement provided by the Frankfurt Zoological Society. “But there is general acceptance that the ethical position is that a hunter will avoid shooting an animal with a collar.”
Trophy hunters try to shoot and kill the biggest and most impressive animals they can find for bragging rights. It’s a completely pointless violent practice that only serves to help poachers and ivory traders.
“In trophy hunts, the elephants sought out are large males with big tusks as these make for the more ‘impressive’ kill,” the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) animal organization said to The Dodo. “However, these older males are in fact the primary breeders and their size and age is in itself an indicator of their genetic health. Taking out these males removes this strong gene pool from wild populations, compromising the next generation of a species already in worrying decline.”
“Considering all we know about elephants, their sentience, their family structures and emotional capacity, trophy hunting is utterly unjustifiable and belongs in the past,” the spokesperson for the DSWT added. “For this elephant, his collar should have afforded him a safety net. Now, however, we’ll no longer be able to learn from this bull whose life was spent for the thrill of a kill.”
Given the fact that elephants are closer to extinction than ever before, we need to put a stop to trophy hunters shooting them as soon as possible.
“Human greed continues to outweigh the value of life,” CEO of the Global Sanctuary for Elephants organization Scott Blaise said. “There are few elephants of this iconic status who remain; as trophy hunters take them out one by one, elephants, as we know them, may be forever changed.”
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