A hunter says he is “totally unrepentant” about killing more than 5,000 elephants, 60 lions and 50 hippos.
Ron Thomson, from Zimbabwe, who has been identified a prolific wildlife hunter in a new report on declining elephant populations, says he has no regrets about his killings.
The 80-year-old father-of-two, a game ranger in African national parks, claimed he didn’t kill the animals out of “bloodlust” but to help their populations survive.
He insisted growing species would destroy their own habitats if their numbers weren’t reduced.
His comments came after a report found that elephant populations have fallen by about two-thirds in the past 30 years.
Mr Thomson also claims to have shot dead more than 800 buffalo and up to 40 leopards.
He accused conservationists of spreading “fraudulent lies” to make money from the public.
He told The Independent his job was “major population reduction” and denied being a trophy-hunter.
British mother faces jail in Dubai for Facebook posts calling ex-husband’s new wife a ‘horse’
Murderer wants prison cell IVF treatment so he can get his girlfriend pregnant
House covered in pigeon poo sells for more than double its £45,000 asking price
“I’ve done enough in my lifetime to satisfy any ‘bloodlust’ people may think I have. It wasn’t bloodlust – it was my job,” he said.
“I didn’t have any sentiment. I’m totally unrepentant, a hundred – ten thousand – times over for any of the hunting I’ve done because that’s not the problem.
“The problem is we’ve got a bunch of so-called experts from the west telling us what to do. I’m a trained university ecologist – I must surely know something about this.
“I wish I could take you by the shoulders and shake you hard and say, ‘Don’t assume everything you’ve heard is correct’.
“The African elephant is nowhere near extinct. People who say this are animal-right-ist NGOs who ask for money and tell lies to get it.
“When you have a healthy population you must ensure they don’t increase beyond the capacity of their habitat.”
A report by the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting (CBTH) found that elephant numbers have fallen from 1.3 million in the 1980s to about 400,000.
It found that 1.7 million trophies were legally traded between 2004 and 2014, including 200,000 from threatened species.
Eduardo Gonçalves, from the CBTH, said: “Trophy hunting is a cruel and abhorrent hangover from colonial times. The recent surge in elephant hunting shows the industry is out of control.”