UNITED STATES: A video of Wayne LaPierre, head of the US National Ride Association (NRA) repeatedly shooting an elephant in Botswana has sparked outrage.
The 2013 video which was first published by the New Yorker and The Trace on Tuesday, shows Wayne LaPierre firing at the animal from point-blank range. The footage further shows another hunter taking the fatal shot after LaPierre struggles to kill the elephant. Later, LaPierre’s wife Susan kills another elephant herself, cutting off its tail and holding it in the air saying “Victory”.
The brutal act has raised an alarm from animal rights groups, questioning LaPierre’s bungled efforts. At the time it was not illegal to hunt elephants in Botswana, though it has since been restricted. But in November last year, the species of elephants killed have been listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Endangered Species.
Condemning the footage, Ingrid Newkirk, president of animal rights group Peta has called for Congress to cut ties with the NRA. “Behind the NRA’s macho posturing are scared little men who pay tens of thousands of dollars for someone else to track elephants so that they can shoot them ineptly at close range,” she said.
On the other hand, defending the footage, NRA spokesperson Andrew Arulanandam said that the act was fully permitted and was conducted abiding by all the rules, adding that “such hunts benefit the local habitat.”
Botswana has the world’s largest population of elephants with a figure of more than 130,000. In 2014, officials banned the right to hunt elephants, but in May 2019, this was then revoked, and last year the government auctioned off hunting permits.
Also Read: Death Of An Elephant – Again
LaPierre often on the radar
This is the latest scandal to LaPierre and the NRA under the lens. In January, the gun-rights group filed for bankruptcy, in January after allegations of financial mismanagement, months after New York’s Attorney General announced a lawsuit aimed at dissolving the group. In other news, LaPierre has been repeatedly criticized for his response to US mass shootings. After the 2018 shooting at Florida’s Stoneman Douglas High School, in his speech he blamed the FBI, the mainstream media, European socialists, mental health systems, and families for the attack. “To stop a bad guy with a gun it takes a good guy with a gun,” he said.