Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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ZimParks okays research jumbo shooting

ZimParks okays research jumbo shooting


Angry elephant

Auxilia Katongomara, Chronicle Reporter
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 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.



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