Who Wants to Shoot an Elephant?

The writer joins a Texas couple on an elephant hunt in Botswana and questions whether a regulated hunting industry could help the elephant population in the country:

“If he charges, I’m gonna shoot him,” Robyn says. The entourage begins a dainty heel-to-toe march into the spiky undergrowth. As it turns out, it is not one elephant but two. One is the big, old, shootable bull. The other is a younger male. Elephants never stop growing, a meliorative aspect of which (elephant-hunt-misgivings-wise) is that the mongo bulls that hunters most want to shoot also happen to be the oldest animals, usually within five or so years of mandatory retirement, when elephants lose their last set of molars and starve to death.

For the record, this detail does not soothe me as the guns make their way toward the elephants under the tree. I have not yet figured out how to dislike elephants enough to want to see one shot. In private treason against my hosts, I am thinking, Not now, not now. Let it please not get shot today.

Source: GQ
Published: Jun 4, 2014
Length: 32 minutes (8,196 words)
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