Hunter 'totally unrepentant' after killing 5000 elephants, 60 lions and 50 hippos

A big game hunter who has killed more than 5000 elephants, 50-60 lions and 50 hippos says he is "totally unrepentant".

On his website, former Zimbabwe park ranger Ron Thomson reveals he has also hunted 800 buffalo, 30-40 leopards, and "many more" animals.

"He also commanded, and led, the three hunters of the culling team that removed 2500 elephants and 300 hippos from the Gonarezhou National Park in the early 1970s," his website says.

"Together the three hunters, acting in unison, and using military NATO-7.62 mm self-loading rifles, brought down herd after herd of elephants, each one numbering between 30 and 50 animals, in the incredible time of just 60 seconds."

These culled animals aren't included in his total.

Thomson is being slammed in a new report from the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting which says elephant numbers have fallen from around 1.3 million to just over 400,000 since the 1980s.

But he says he has no remorse for the amount of animals he's killed.

"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 told the Independent.

"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."

Eduardo Gonçalves, founder of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting, says the trophy hunting industry is "slaughtering elephants left, right and centre".

"Killing elephants for 'fun' is unacceptable, even more so because of the serious threat to its survival," he says.

"Trophy hunting is a cruel and abhorrent hangover from colonial times. The recent surge in elephant hunting shows the industry is out of control. It threatens to push endangered species to the point of no return".

But Thomson says this isn't correct.

"The African elephant is nowhere near extinct," he told the Independent.

"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."


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