Pero Jelinic, a 75-year-old hotelier from the Croatian island of Pag, was killed mid-shoot of a lion in South Africa in a freak accident this past weekend.
Jelinic was killed at Leeubosch Lodge, a remote property four hours away from Johannesburg. The property partakes in ‘canned’ lion hunting, a controversial industry where lions are kept in captivity for the sole purpose of being hunted. As the Daily Mail explained, “hunts in this industry keep lions in a confined space using fences, giving them a zero chance of escape and giving the hunter the best possible chance of claiming his trophy”.
“Pero Jelinic, 75, had already shot one lion dead and had another in his sights when he was struck by a stray bullet and killed on a remote farm on Saturday. Friend Slavko Pernar said Jelinic was a passionate hunter who had gone to South Africa to bag lion trophy after shooting ‘everything that could be hunted in Europe’”, the paper revealed.
The Professional Hunters’ Association of South Africa (PHASA) voted to disassociate itself from canned lion hunting in the country and banned its members from taking part in such expeditions, in November 2015, calling them ‘vanity hunting’, according to the Daily Mail.
PHASA reversed the ruling last year, a decision which received severe criticism from animal rights groups across the globe.
It may come as a surprise to some that “canned hunting” is allowed in South Africa. Yet, trophy hunting is generally popular across Southern Africa, attracting thousands of visitors each year.
Here are 4 Southern African countries where game hunting is shockingly legal, despite wide acceptance that the practice is inhumane and hazardous for the animals and environment.
- South Africa: people can hunt popular trophy animals like kudu, impala and blue wildebeest; lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhino commonly known as the Big Five; and several species of dove, duck, spurfowl, Egyptian goose and guinea fowl in wing shooting. Hunters can use both rifle and bows.
- Botswana: people can hunt elephant, large herds of Cape buffalo, crocodile, hippo, lion, leopard as well as the unique red lechwe. Gamers can also hunt different types of birds.
- Namibia: People can hunt dwellers, such as the springbok, blue wildebeest, and the African elephant. Namibia sports the largest population of black rhino in all of Africa, the roan antelope and several antelope species such as the red lechwe, waterbuck, reedbuck and the sitatunga, all of which can be hunted. Leopards are also game.
- Zimbabwe: Three of the Big Five (elephant, buffalo and leopard) are available on hunting safaris. Additional dangerous game species include both crocodile and hippopotamus. Some unique plains game subspecies are also available for hunting in Zimbabwe, like the Chobe bushbuck and Livingstone eland.
It’s clear that these governments’ positive attitude toward sport and trophy hunting is a danger to many African animals and the environment. Although some individuals make the argument that trophy hunting helps with animal conservation by bringing revenue to local communities to curb poaching and protect animals, a report by National Geographic revealed that trophy hunting doesn’t protect wildlife, stop poaching, or even bring money to local communities for conservation.
The African elephant has been declared vulnerable and endangered due to ivory poachers, similar to the lion, which is extinct in 26 African countries and have vanished from over 90 percent of their historic range, and the black rhino.
It is about time Africans take a hard stand against this issue.
Update by author: an earlier publication of this article stated that trophy hunting is legal in Botswana. This is incorrect. The practice has been banned in Botswana since 2014. It is legal in Zambia rather, which lifted its ban on trophy hunting in 2014.