Conservation Official Comes Under Fire After Hunting Elephants in South Africa

| by Dominic Kelly

A conservation official from Germany is in hot water after posing in pictures next to the corpse of a dead elephant while on a hunting trip in Botswana, South Africa last year.

Udo Wedekind’s job is to protect the environment and ensure that endangered species are kept alive, but as he demonstrated in the pictures, he doesn’t do those things outside of work. Wedekind went on a hunting trip while in Botswana and wound up killing a giant elephant.

“The hunt was tough, it was 37 degrees Celsius in the shade, and was really humid,” said Wedekind about the pictures in an email to his friends. “There was also thick bush, making the going tough. It was really a challenge. I'm so happy that it ended with a real hunting victory.”

Just last month, Botswana passed a law making it illegal for wealthy foreign hunters to kill elephants, but that doesn’t apply to Wedekind’s case because his trip was prior to the ban.

Jürgen Reinholz, environmental minister for Thüringen, a state in Germany, spoke out about the controversy surrounding Wedekind’s elephant hunting.

"It is not of interest what civil servants do in their free time as long as they follow the law and don't break the rules," said Reinholz.