Pero Jelenic was shot dead while hunting lions
Pero Jelenic was shot dead while hunting lions

Big game hunter shot dead while lining up lion

A trophy hunter was shot dead as he hunted lions bred in captivity in South Africa.

Pero Jelenic was struck by a stray bullet as he tracked on of the creatures near Setlagole, in the North West province.

Police spokesperson Charlize van der Linden told News24 that the 75-year-old hotelier from Croatia had already killed one lion and along with two other hunters, he was tracking another big cat when he was hit.

"He was airlifted to Vryburg Hospital by helicopter, but doctors were unable to save the man's life," she said.

She added: "A case of culpable homicide has been opened, and police are also investigating charges of illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition. At this stage it is not clear who fired the fatal shot that killed Mr Jelinic. Our investigations are ongoing."

Slavko Pernar, told Croatian newspaper Jutarnji List that his friend "was a passionate hunter of big and small game, and in search of that he travelled most of the world."

He said: "For the past year he had leased his hotel to dedicate himself to the things he planned to accomplish and enjoy a deserved retirement. He, unfortunately, received the ugliest end - he died in South Africa doing what he loved.

"His office, a hunting hall, was full of trophies, deer and bear specimens and everything that could be hunted in Croatia and Europe."

South Africa's "canned" lion hunting industry is highly controversial. In canned hunts, cats raised in captivity are kept on private hunting reserves where they can be shot by hunters for a fee.

According to World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the number of African lions in the wild has dropped by 40 per cent in the last 30 years because of habitat loss and conflict with people.

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