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German Hunter Pays $60,000 to Kill One of Africa's Biggest Elephants

Just months after the killing of Cecil the Lion sparked intense Internet outrage, a German hunter has killed what is believed to be the largest elephant ever killed in Africa "for sport" in almost 30 years, according to The Telegraph. While Walter Palmer, the hunter who killed Cecil paid $50,000 for his trophy hunt, this man, who has not been identified by name, paid $60,000 (nearly £40,000) as part of a "21-day game hunt including the Big Five of elephants, leopards, lions, buffalo and rhinoceros," reports The Telegraph.

News of the hunt comes on the heels of the announcement that Zimbabwean authorities have decided not to prosecute Palmer for the killing of Cecil, saying his "papers were in order" and that he did not know he was committing an offense. The elephant, which was estimated to have been 50 years old, was shot and killed on Oct. 8 in "a private hunting concession" of Zimbabwe’s Gonarezhou National Park, according to The Telegraph. It's unclear where the animal came from as it had never been spotted before in Gonarezhou. Johnny Rodrigues, chairman of The Zimbabwean Conservation Task Force, suspects it might have wandered over from Kruger National Park in neighboring South Africa.

The animal was shot and killed on Oct. 8 by an unnamed German hunter on a 21-day big game hunt. Photo credit: Facebook

"The kill was celebrated in hunting forums around the world," says The Telegraph. The elephant was "so huge its tusks were almost hitting the ground while it was standing. We have never seen any animal that big." Emmanuel Fundira, chairman of the Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe (SOAZ), told AFP.

"The last time one was seen (of such size) was more than 40 years ago," said Fundira. "The hunter should not have shot it." Elephants such as this one need to be treated as a "national treasure" rather than killed. "We need to discipline ourselves and hold such iconic things sacred," he said.

The elephant is thought to be the largest killed in Zimbabwe in more than 30 years. Photo credit: Facebook

Its tusks weighed a combined 122 pounds, said Rodrigues, who expressed his outraged over the killing. "We are disgusted. It's wrong to kill an iconic animal like that," Rodrigues told AFP. Rodrigues confirmed to The Guardian that the German national "had the correct license and permit to shoot an elephant."

The massive tusks weighed 122 pounds. Photo credit: Facebook

Still, Rodrigues thinks the hunter should face the same public scrutiny as Walter Palmer. "We don’t know who this hunter is but we will find out. The authorities and the hunters’ association are trying to protect him, but ... we’ve got his photograph," said Rodrigues. "We will identify him and when we do we’ll leave the public to do what they did to Walter Palmer. People like that deserve it."

“Let’s have some ethics," he added. "Just because they have money, they don’t need to do it. It’s only so they can mount them on a bloody wall. What is that?”

Elephants are being killed—mostly by poachers—at an alarming rate. Exact numbers are hard to come by, but William deBuys at TomDispatch puts the number at 100 elephants killed a day. The critically acclaimed series Earth Focus estimates an elephant is killed every 20 minutes for its tusks.

Cyanide poisoning of elephants has become a major problem in the last two years. In 2013, up to 100 elephants were killed with cyanide (original estimates put the number at 300). Zimbabwe National Parks has called for "stiffer penalties for poachers" after a slew of elephant killings from cyanide poisoning in the last two weeks—26 elephants found dead this week and 14 found dead last week, according to The Telegraph.

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