Story at a glance
- The footage shows executive vice president of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, shoot and wound the elephant while standing alongside two guides in the bush in Botswana’s Okavango Delta.
- He then shoots the elephant three times at close range but fails to kill it. A guide then fires the lethal shot.
- The video later shows LaPierre’s wife shoot and kill a different elephant.
A newly released video shows the head of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and his wife fatally shooting two elephants in Botswana in 2013.
The nine-minute video obtained and released by the New Yorker and The Trace Tuesday was filmed as part of an NRA-sponsored television program intended to boost the organization’s profile among hunters, but it never aired due to concerns the footage could cause a “public relations fiasco,” according to the news outlets.
The footage shows Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the NRA, shoot and wound the elephant while standing alongside two guides in the bush in Botswana’s Okavango Delta.
After LaPierre’s shot took the elephant down, the guides bring the NRA head a short distance from the animal that’s immobilized and lying on its side. The guides then instruct LaPierre where to shoot the animal to finish it off and he shoots the elephant three times in the wrong place. A guide finally fires the shot that kills the endangered animal.
The guides then congratulate LaPierre.
“That was one heck of an elephant hunt,” one says.
The video later shows LaPierre’s wife approach two separate elephants alongside guides who instruct her to aim between the animal’s eyes. She fires a shot and the elephant drops to the ground. She then fires another shot into the animal’s chest to ensure that it's dead. The guide then instructs her to cut the animal’s tail off as he says it’s a hunter custom.
The NRA did not immediately respond for a request for comment from Changing America.
Elephant populations across Africa are also becoming increasingly threatened with extinction due to poaching and destruction of their habitat.
An assessment released earlier this year from conservation group the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) listed the African forest elephant as critically endangered and the African savanna elephant as endangered due to the animals’ declining numbers.
“Savannah elephants were just declared endangered by international experts, and these intelligent beings certainly shouldn’t be used as paper targets by an inept marksman,” Tanya Sanerib, international legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement to Changing America.
“We’re in the midst of a poaching epidemic, and rich trophy hunters like the NRA chief are blasting away at elephants while the international community calls for stiffer penalties for poachers – what message does that send?” Sanerib said. “We need to halt all elephant killings or they’ll vanish forever.”
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