Romanian Billionaire Pays $79,000 to Kill and Stuff an Elephant

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades

Ioan Niculae, a Romanian billionaire, has paid nearly $80,000 to kill an elephant and have it shipped back to his home. The agriculture and fertilizer magnate is the richest man in Romania and paid to gun down an elephant in Hoedspruit, a town in South Africa's Limpopo province in February last year.

Niculae paid $31,600 to shoot the elephant in the first place and nearly $47,400 to get it stuffed and shipped back to Romania. It took seven months to taxidermy the large elephant. Deiter Ochsenbein, 51, who runs the Highfield Taxidermists Company which executed the project, said “Stuffing an elephant is a lengthy process.... Alive, the elephant weighed about four-and-a-half tons, but now with all the original interior scraped out and a new fiberglass interior in its place, it weighs about half a ton.”

Ochsenbein also added that it took six people to complete the body of the elephant, which was comprised of 47 different pieces. 

The elephant’s ivory tusk were also removed and put into a display case. The taxidermy pachyderm now has fiberglass tusks instead. 

Niculae hunted several other animals on his expedition, which he also preserved and sent back to his home. The total bill for all 19 animals was nearly $95,000. While the smaller animals can be sent by air, the elephant and lions have been taken to the port city of Durban to be loaded onto a ship and then sent to Niculae’s Romanian home. 

Though most people believe hunting large wildlife like elephants is illegal, that’s not the case. Elephant hunting is allowed in African countries where their populations are stable and protected. Globally, elephants are considered an endangered species. 

Sources: Daily Mail, WWF Image via Daily Mail