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ZIMBABWE

Outrage in Zimbabwe over killing of elephant with research collar

Elephants in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.
Elephants in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

A magnificent elephant bull has been shot dead by a Russian hunter in south-eastern Zimbabwe, just outside a national park, even though the animal was wearing a collar for research purposes.The main hunters’ association has called the killing a mistake.

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At the moment it’s not illegal for a professional hunter to shoot an animal wearing a research collar, though it is deemed unethical.

In Zimbabwe’s southeastern Gonarezhou, these collars help scientists monitor the movements of elephants in and out of the park.

Zimbabwe’s professional hunters’ association says the Russian hunter and his local guide couldn't see the collar on the elephant as it was in thick bush when it was shot.

But this killing has once again cast a spotlight on the controversial practice of trophy hunting three years after the death of Cecil the Lion -- who was also wearing a collar -- caused international outrage.

News of this killing comes the same week as former first lady Grace Mugabe has been accused of helping smuggle poached ivory out of Zimbabwe when her husband was still in power.

It is alleged that national parks officers were put under pressure to sign export permits for the ivory at the request of officials from Mugabe's office and that once outside the country, the ivory was diverted onto the black market.

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