“Revolting” footage of the head of the NRA and his wife shooting elephants in Botswana and claiming “victory” has emerged. WARNING: Graphic.
Footage has emerged of two elephants in Botswana being shot by the head of America’s National Rifle Association (NRA) and his wife as the pair are seen claiming “victory”.
Obtained and released by The New Yorker, the 10-minute video of Wayne LaPierre Jr, executive vice president of the NRA, and his wife Susan, was originally filmed for an NRA-sponsored TV series in around 2013, but never aired due to public relations concerns.
The couple can be seen shooting and wounding a savannah elephant – which have recently been moved to endangered status on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Endangered Species – that Mr LaPierre’s guides tracked for him in the country’s Okavango Delta. The video shows him failing to kill the animal with three shots at point-blank range as the animal lies immobile on the ground.
“You want to do it for him?” one of the guides says to the other, before one of the men fires the final shot.
The guides then pat Mr LaPierre on the back, telling him “well done”, “congratulations” and “that was one heck of an elephant hunt”.
Later footage shows Ms LaPierre killing a different elephant the guides had tracked down for her, appearing to choke up as she describes it as a “once in a lifetime” experience.
“I was practising this shot all day long,” she tells the camera. “He wasn’t sure what we were doing. Amazing. That’s just incredible. Quite a day. Two beautiful African elephant in one day.”
She then cuts off its tail and holds it in the air.
“Victory!” she shouts, laughing. “That’s my elephant tail. Way cool.”
According to The New Yorker, records showed that while the footage never aired, the couple “still wanted their trophies”.
“To avoid bad publicity – and at Susan’s written request – body parts from both elephants were shipped to the US in a hidden manner,” the publication reports.
“A man travelled two hours to Johannesburg to remove the couple’s names from shipping crates. The Master Airway Bill was in the name of a taxidermist, whom Makris’s company paid to turn the animals’ front feet into stools for Wayne and Susan’s home.”
In a statement, international legal director at the Centre for Biological Diversity, Tanya Sanerib, said the footage was “sickening”.
“Savannah elephants were just declared endangered by international experts, and these intelligent beings certainly shouldn’t be used as paper targets by an inept marksman,” she said.
“It’s sickening to LaPierre’s brutal, clumsy slaughter of this beautiful creature. No animal should suffer like this. We’re in the midst of a poaching epidemic, and rich trophy hunters like the NRA chief are blasting away at elephants while the international community calls for stiffer penalties for poachers – what message does that send?”