Video: Tourist Ineptly Guns Down Curious Elephant; South African President’s Trophy Hunting Connections Exposed

Video: Tourist Ineptly Guns Down Curious Elephant; South African President’s Trophy Hunting Connections Exposed

PETA Urges Boris Johnson to Bring Forward Legislation to Ban Trophy Imports

London – Following a secret investigation, PETA US has uncovered South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s hidden connections to and investments in the trophy hunting industry. The revelations come after the group’s release of video footage of an American tourist who ineptly shoots and kills a young elephant on a nature reserve adjacent to Kruger National Park.

The video shows the elephant peacefully walking out of the bush as an American trophy hunter and his guides lie in wait. The American then shoots the elephant in the head and watches as he falls to his knees. The suffering animal looks at the shooting party as the man – who paid US$30,000 (around £23,000) to kill him – is getting instructions from the guides on shooting more accurately. He finally shoots the elephant four more times, causing the animal to rumble in distress or to warn others.

“Paying for the ‘pleasure’ of gunning down a gentle, curious elephant is murder,” says PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA asks anyone haunted by this cowardly act to join us in pushing for legislation to ban the import of the heads and other body parts of animals into the UK as trophies.”

The PETA US video also reveals that Ramaphosa is quietly developing and expanding a trophy hunting property named Diepdrift – stocking it with animals from his personal wildlife-breeding operation, Phala Phala – and that he owns a 50% stake in Tsala Hunting Safaris. PETA US recorded conversations in which Ramaphosa’s managers admit that he shares equally in the profits from all hunts conducted through Tsala and spoke of the importance of concealing his involvement. One manager said, “We try to keep the president’s name actually out of the hunting thing because … of all the greenies …. So he wanna spare himself this, how can I say, bad publicity and all of that. … We gotta do it under a different brand, where none of my name or his name are connected to it.”

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way” – opposes speciesism, which is the human-supremacist view that animals are nothing more than trophies or commodities. The group notes that in the past decade, trophy hunters have imported 2,500 animal parts into the UK, including the heads and skins of cheetahs, elephants, lions, hippos, and zebras . Countries including France and the Netherlands have banned the import of hunting trophies, yet the UK still allows hunters to bring their sick souvenirs home – despite the Conservative government’s 2019 election manifesto promising to end this practice.

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Jennifer White +44 (0) 20 7837 6327, ext 222; [email protected]