A trophy hunter who has been flooded with threats after PETA released a video of him killing a young elephant in South Africa has defended his actions and suggested the process keeps “people fed” and “conservation funded.
Aaron Raby is a Los Angeles based hunter who allegedly paid over $30,000 to shoot a young elephant in South Africa. According to the reports, he also paid an additional $10,000 to preserve and keep the animal’s head as a trophy.
Following Raby’s South African hunt, PETA released a video of the hunter shooting the elephant as they advocated Senate Bill 1175 – proposed legislation that would see Californians banned from importing and keeping parts of threatened and endangered species such as rhinos, elephants, and lions.
After the footage of Raby shooting an elephant went viral, the hunter insisted he didn’t do anything illegal and opposed the ban in an interview with Los Angeles Times.
“I don’t understand why this is anybody’s business but my own. What I did is legal. I didn’t break a law. They’re going to place a ban because a bunch of … crybabies that don’t like hunting,” he said.
Despite threats, online harassment, and public criticism he has been facing for years due to his trophy hunting practices, Raby suggested his actions save animals from being poached.
“We pay a lot of money to hunt these animals. If we didn’t hunt, that land would be converted into cattle ranches and there’d be poaching. They don’t want lions killing their cattle or elephants destroying their crops,” the hunter claimed.
“We’re not all bloodthirsty, psycho machines that people make us out to be. I promise you, I can read an animal better than someone who is against hunting. They say they like animals, but they don’t know anything about them.”
Following the controversial elephant hunt, which represented the last leg of Raby’s ‘Big Five’ quest during which he also killed a leopard, rhino, lion, and Cape buffalo, PETA requested South African officials to investigate the matter.
According to PETA, Raby failed to provide the elephant with “ethical and humane” treatment as the preserve in which the elephant was shot dictates.