Shooting of research elephant in Botswana sparks controversy

Shooting of research elephant in Botswana sparks controversy
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Hunters in Botswana sparked controversy after they shot and killed an elephant last month that was collared for research. The incident is similar to the killing of Cecil the lion in 2015.

The killing came after Botswanan President Mokgweetsi Masisi controversially rolled back a hunting ban that his predecessor Ian Khama introduced in 2014, Bloomberg reports.

Botswana has an elephant population of 130,000, the largest in the world.

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The elephant had been collared by the NGO Elephants Without Borders.

"Killing of collared animals is not permitted,” the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism said in a statement Thursday. “Appropriate measures shall be taken against transgressors including revocation of their licenses.”

According to Bloomberg, the hunter who killed the elephant was a professional and a member of the Botswana Wildlife Producers Association. The wildlife organization said that it found the news of the killing to be "deeply disturbing."

The hunting party, which also killed four other elephants that weren't collared, also illegally burned the collar after the killing.

Cecil the lion had been collared by Oxford University researchers, but was killed by American dentist Walter Palmer in 2015.