A disturbing number of elephants have been killed in Zimbabwe in recent weeks, including the biggest one seen in decades. An enormous bull elephant was killed on Oct. 8 just outside a national park by a German hunter who had paid $60,000 for a permit, the Telegraph reports. (The link has an image of the elephant.) Conservationists tellCNN that with tusks that weighed around 120 pounds each, the elephant was one of the biggest to be seen in the region for 50 years—and if it hadn’t been shot, it could have become a tourist attraction worth a lot more than $60,000. The hunter, who has not been identified, was on a 21-day hunt that also included leopards, lions, buffalo, and rhinoceros, according to the Telegraph.
The chairman of Zimbabwe’s hunters and guides association tells the Telegraph that the elephant had not been seen in the country before and it was bigger than any of the other five or six “giant tuskers” shot over the last year. He says the client didn’t realize just how big the elephant was until it was shot, and he suggests that authorities start collaring unique elephants if they don’t want hunters to shoot them. Elsewhere in Zimbabwe, the bodies of 26 elephants that poachers had poisoned with cyanide were found this week, the AP reports. Another 14 were killed in three separate incidents last week and no arrests have been made, authorities say. (The American dentist who killed Cecil the lion appears to be in the clear.)