More Murderous Behavior in Zimbabwe

By on October 16, 2015 with 12 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

It seems there’s hardly any good news coming out of Zimbabwe these days. Three months ago, American dentist Walter Palmer shot Cecil, one of the most famous lions in Hwange National Park, after luring him from the park’s protected confines. We got word on Monday of this week that Zimbabwe officials won’t charge Palmer in Cecil’s death, clearly a political move so as not to discourage trophy hunters from visiting the country to conduct their killing escapades. Then, we learned on Tuesday that rangers found several dozen elephants dead in Hwange, bringing the number of elephants poisoned and dismembered for their tusks in Zimbabwe to 43 in just the last month. And on Friday, we woke up to news that in an authorized hunt there, a German hunter had shot a giant male elephant, reportedly the largest elephant to be killed in decades on the continent.

The killing of this magnificent elephant is an additional mark of disgrace for Zimbabwe, which invites globe-trotting elites to shoot its largest and often rarest animals if they hand over enough cash. It’s a pay-to-slay transaction, and  all rolled up, this business of serial head-hunting is exacting an immense toll on  the nation’s wildlife. Precisely because of Zimbabwe’s autocratic government, and its reckless wildlife management, the United States suspended any imports of elephant trophies from the country two years ago. It’s time for Germany to get with the program and match the U.S. action.

Trophy hunting animals is such a waste in a country that earns so much more from photographic tourism: an Economists at Large report found that, in 2011, Zimbabwe earned 31 times more from tourism than from trophy hunting. This puts the lie to the claim that the country needs to pursue trophy hunting as a development strategy. And I hope the trophy hunters spare us the rhetoric that the activities are compatible – killing Cecil, killing the giant male elephant this week, and other similar slayings denude the nation of its rich wildlife heritage and deduct from wildlife-watching experiences for people who come with much more cash and with far more peaceful intentions.

The only immediate good news for elephants this week is that China has announced a suspension of imports of elephant ivory trophies from all of Africa. Isn’t it remarkable that China, long accused of being insensitive to animal issues, is eclipsing Germany in the wisdom and humanity of its practices on this issue? Just weeks ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the United States and vowed to replicate U.S. policy against commercial trade in ivory. Last week, the notorious “Queen of Ivory” was finally arrested in Tanzania, and charged with smuggling 706 elephant tusks. There is increasing hope that we can stop the poachers and the trophy hunters from laying waste to the continent’s beleaguered elephants, who have been slaughtered by opportunistic, greedy, and self-satisfied people who kill one member of their species every 15 minutes. What a disgrace that we treat the world’s largest land mammals this way – creatures with so much intelligence and emotional capacity and with such a commitment to family life and their closest kin.

And what hypocrisy for the West to demand an end to the trade in ivory, but to continue to support gambits by wealthy Americans and Europeans to travel to the African continent and slaughter elephants for their tusks? It makes little sense to people to say that poor Africans are forbidden from killing elephants for their tusks, but it’s okay for rich westerners to do so. In July of this year, the European Union prohibited import of elephant hunting trophies from Tanzania, Mozambique, and Zambia, a positive step, but  surely on the basis of this week’s news Zimbabwe should be next.

In the United States, we’ve got a big vote coming up on I-1401 in Washington state, a concrete step that we can take in our own country to mitigate the damage that people like Walter Palmer and the nameless German are doing (the latter fellow went to Zimbabwe to shoot the so-called Big Five: an elephant, a leopard, a lion, a Cape buffalo, and a rhinoceros). We urge humane-minded voters in Washington state to cast a “yes” ballot on the issue.  And we are anxious to see the U.S. rule on the ivory trade made final. We must show leadership in protecting elephants, and it starts with sending a message to the poachers and the trophy hunters that elephants are off limits and they should kept intact.

Humane Society International, Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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  1. David Bernazani says:

    With only about 50 of the largest African elephants, the “big tuskers” left, what arrogance, what uncaring greed, what short-sighted selfishness to think it’s ok to murder one of them. Whatever scumbag shot this magnificent creature stole a national– no, a world treasure from all of us. I hope when the world learns his name they will do to him what they did to Cecil’s killer– and more.

  2. Nicole benson lagace says:

    It is a joke the US claims to care about the animals becoming extinct however their actions don’t support this . Africa forget it,they don’t care about their people why would they be concerned about wildlife. All the money they receive from these heartless killers the African people should have food at the bare minimum. China they are just giving lip service probably think people are not aware of the great society of animal torture that exists. The brutal massacre of dogs in china raised to be eaten by the Chinese is pitiful. The torture of rabbits having there fur ripped violently from their bodies then being thrown into a cage in a state of shock. Only to have it repeated done to them until they die or are butchered. I hope there is enough room in hell for all these monsters.

  3. Ignace says:

    STOP the cowards,leave those beautiful animals alone in their nature ! Sutch a beautiful animal killed by a very great coward,stupid german human shame on you !

  4. Frankie Banks says:

    STOP the killing..

  5. EDDIE JAUCK says:

    The world is full of PERVERSE hunters, they should be killed and not the animals, revenge for the killed animals!!!

  6. Denni A says:

    Wayne – hope HSUS looks into this, Trophy Killers (they are not Hunters) and International Trophy Killing Groups are filing a lawsuit against Delta Airlines for banning transport of gruesome animal parts. do they have legal standing on this matter. hope you write a commentary on your blog about this.

  7. Judith Smith says:

    what is wrong with Zimbabwe allowing the slaughter of these Beautiful Animals. Greed pure Greed you are denying the world of seeing these beautiful animals. Shame on you damn you for this. STOP THE KILLING BEFORE THERE IS NONE LEFT!!!!!!

  8. margie anne says:

    Time to tell millionaire trophy hunters we don’t want their dirty blood money to fund wildlife programs.

    The unmitigated adasity :

    ” we are rich and you need our money to fund wildlife programs and to feed the poor in Afficaz so, let us kill big tusk elephants and black mane elephants for fun! You need our money, and you can’t have it unless we can kill lions, tigers and rhinos”.

    To even advance this argument is appealing.

  9. Anirban (aka Abner) Bhattacharya says:

    Germany & Austria during 1930s & 1940s (after 1938 anschluss) were advanced in many ways when it came to animal welfare laws. People from other nations who go to Africa to hunt elephants, giraffes, etc. do that mainly because they want to kill an animal they can’t find in their own nations. These hunters can’t let well enough alone in that they can’t settle for the wild goats, deer, pheasants, etc. they hunt but need to hunt that giraffe. If people want to hunt deer, pheasant, ducks, hares or rabbits for food, then as long as they are swiftly killed, I have no problem.

    Yes, it’s legal for tourists to travel to Africa to hunt giraffes & pay alot of money for this hunt. But just because it’s legal doesn’t make it right. Law in most Spanish provinces allow bullfighting (I used to live in Spain), but they should abolish bullfighting because there are more humane & fast ways to kill for food. Visiting Spain in 2014, most Spaniards under 30 years old are against bullfighting & Spaniards told me that there are more humane ways to kill for food such as rifles instead of a bullfight.

    While it’s legal, there is no need for people to travel to Africa to hunt gazelles, gnus, impalas, giraffes or other animals though the animals are killed for feeding the local natives in Africa. Let the African natives hunt the gazelles, gnus, impalas, etc. for their food as they have guns, know marksmanship on how to quickly kill the animals they hunt for food & it is not expensive to learn this.
    I am against tourists spending alot of money to go hunt giraffes in Africa, because again they do it because they mainly want to hunt animals they can’t get in their nations & there is no need for people to travel to Africa to spend alot of money hunt elephants, giraffes, etc.

    My idea is to end the greed. & when you have money spent on these hunts, you also get African species endangered because tourists spend money to hunt them & the tour guides (some who make money from selling animal parts). Animals such as rhinos, hippos & lions are endangered & there must be a law against these hunts. Tourists traveling to Africa to hunt them is about money & alot of the money goes to tour guides involved in illegal trades.

  10. Edda Kenney says:

    Stop these murderers !!!!!! We don’t need people like this ! Put them behind bars.
    These animals do not need to be killed !!!!!Have a heart ! Do they not have common sense in Zimbabwe. These animals also have a heart and deserve a life !!!!!!I’m totally disgusted with these minsters that allow this senseless butchering !!!!!STOP these goings on !!

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