A hunter has shot dead what is believed to be the biggest elephant killed for "sport" in Africa for 30 years, according to reports.
The animal, one of the largest elephants ever seen in Zimbabwe, was killed on October 8 in an area set aside for private hunting, which borders the Gonarezhou National Park.
A German hunter reportedly paid about €50,000 for a permit to shoot a large bull elephant and was led by an experienced local guide.
Organisers of the hunt declined to name the hunter, who went to Zimbabwe to shoot the so-called Big Five of targets: an elephant, a leopard, a lion, a buffalo and a rhinoceros.
Elephants are being killed at such a rate - mainly by poachers - that there are fears they could become extinct in a generation.
Louis Muller, chairman of the Zimbabwe Professional Hunters & Guides Association, said the hunters had not realised the elephant was so large when the German man fired.
The animal's huge tusks weighed 122 pounds, according to Johnny Rodrigues Chairman for Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force.
Images of the elephant, with the hunter and a man believed to be his guide, were shared on social media.
Unlike Cecil, the black-maned lion beloved by tourists who was shot by American dentist Walter Palmer in Hwange National Park using a bow and arrow in July, the animal’s origin was not immediately known, according to the Daily Telegraph.
The man who helped arrange the hunt, who did not want to be named, defended his client. “This was a legal hunt and the client did nothing wrong,” he said, according to the Daily Telegraph. “We hunters have thick skins and we know what the greenies will say. This elephant was probably 60 years old and had spread its seed many many times over.”