Big-game hunter condemned for killing one of Botswana’s oldest elephants

Photo of the hunter with the dead elephant. image: facebook

After killing one of Botswana’s oldest elephants a big-game hunter has been condemned for his action

Controversy is surrounding professional big-game hunter Leon Kachelhoffer. He makes a very good living from helping ‘trophy-hunter’ clients track down and hunt wild and dangerous animals in Africa. He has come under fire though for recently killing one of the oldest elephants in the country of Botswana.

According to reports, the elephant in question was a ‘hundred pounder’, or ‘big tusker’, so-called due to its huge size, and uniquely-long tusks. It is thought to be the oldest elephant to have been hunted and killed professionally since 1996. Its tusks are said to have been almost 8 feet in length.

Kachelhoffer is believed to have been paid $50,000 (€46,100) for his work. Another elephant thought to weigh 90 pounds, was also killed on the same trip. The big animal was killed with one single shot, and was reportedly over 50 years of age.

After posting an image of his conquest on Facebook, he himself became a target, of outraged users. He has since made his Facebook profile private.

In an effort to justify his actions, Kachelhoffer engaged with Robbie Kroger, host of the ‘Blood Origins’ podcast, telling him, ‘To be in a position to hunt a bull like that, it’s an incredible privilege. When you take a bull like that, there’s a lot of remorse, there’s a lot of sadness, you think about the great life that this elephant has led”.

Adding, ‘You know, there’s more to it than shooting a bull, taking a photograph, becoming a hero and all this other nonsense’. 

Hunting is a ‘sustainable conservation tool’, he argued. He furthered his case by pointing out that it attracts tourism, which in turn creates jobs, and fuels the local economy. His argument comes across as valid when you consider the result of his hunting trip that day provided meat for 350 villagers, and gave work to his local trackers.

This argument between hunters and activists is a long-running one, and seems to have no solution. In 2021, Botswana allegedly made $2.7million (€2.49m) from its elephant hunts. Mokgweetsi Masisi, the current president, only reintroduced the policy allowing hunting when he replaced Ian Khama in 2019.

‘This was one of the largest, if not the largest, tusker in the country. An elephant that tour operators constantly tried to show tourists as an iconic attraction. Now it is dead”, commented Mr Khama. “How does it being dead benefit our declining tourism industry? Incompetence and poor leadership have almost wiped out the rhino population, and now this!”.

Under Mr Khama’s hunting ban, while numbers fell in other African countries, the elephant population of Botswana had reportedly stabilised itself, according to Eduardo Goncalves, founder of the Campaign To Ban Trophy Hunting. He told metro.co.uk, “Botswana is now home to one-third of all Africa’s elephants”

“It is key to the survival of the species, which is now classed as Endangered in the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List. More elephants are killed by poachers and trophy hunters than are born every year”, he continued.

“Elephants are going into genetic decline as trophy hunters shoot the biggest animals with the largest tusks. This means they will be more prone to diseases. Elephant tusks are now getting shorter, and more elephants are tuskless thanks to persecution”.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

Comments


    • Simon Hancock

      22 April 2022 • 07:24

      This sickens me, the greed of one man’s ego is too much.
      In sll honesty he should be given the death penalty

      Reply
    • John Nash

      22 April 2022 • 11:44

      It was a very old elephant and already starting to starve to death – the end for all old elephants when their teeth wear down. It was no longer a breeding bull and perhaps not as wary as it had been. It was not the biggest in Botswana – it was the biggest ivory hunting record for Botswana since 1996. The are other big tusks found on elephants that have died in the area. It was one of four bulls allowed to be harvested on a government quota this year for block 13 – four bulls in an area with 29,000 elephants.
      The area Block 13 in Nagamiland, has no tourist trade because it has no roads or any amenities, so hunting income is the only significant income there. The safari company paid the local village Community Trust Account $110,000 to hunt their property. There are other fees for each animal, plus VAT! No tourists went to see this elephant – the nearest tourist camp is at least 40kms away. it was only discovered for the first time when hunted. It died in a kindly way, from a single brain shot taken at forty yards by a hunter on foot. Better than slow starvation. The elephant meat went to 350 people, and they probably fed three more each. All in all, the perfect trophy, practically and morally.

      Reply
      • Joe burns

        28 April 2022 • 12:17

        There’s always a tool ready to defend this , if the villagers needed food that badly ,let them hunt an animal ,instead of some poor little rich kid spending daddies money to facilitate his moronic upbringing ,soaked in wealth ,I’m sure he cares about starving villagers or anyone else .

        Reply
      • Dr. Vargo

        20 May 2022 • 22:05

        Lies. The elephant, as stated by Mr. Kharma, was a tourist attraction. You and I both know that elephants roam great distances. Plus, who told you it was starving? Moreover, by providing $110,000 to allow hunting, you are further enabling corruption in the territory and perpetuating colonialism. These elephants are EVERYBODY’S heritage, and even looking at it from a profit perspective, they provide much more income if left alive and majestic (through decades of tourism which benefits the whole community, not just the guy who gave permission to hunt in the territory). Appaling what sad excuses you can make to justify a bloody and selfish practice. SHAME.

        Reply
    • Julie Defoirdt

      26 April 2022 • 16:05

      Il mérite la mort ce batard qui a tué ce magnifique éléphant !

      Reply

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