Peta wants investigation into ‘botched’ Eastern Cape buffalo hunt
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story contains a video of an animal being shot in a hunt, which some readers might find disturbing.
Animal rights organisation People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) has called for an immediate investigation into what it says was a “botched” buffalo hunt at an Eastern Cape safari estate.
Peta has called for the provincial economic development, environmental affairs & tourism department to probe hunting outfitter John X Safaris and the circumstances of the hunt it conducted in May 2021.
A person who answered the phone listed on John X Safaris website, but who refused to give his name, said they would not comment on the issue.
“There is no comment on that. It’s not a botched hunt; it was a legal hunt. 100% legal,” he said.
The call for an investigation comes after, video footage by John X Safaris shows a trophy hunter ignoring the direction of his guide and killing two Cape buffalo, a near-threatened species, at the Woodlands Safari Estate last month said Peta.
Peta said that, pending the Eastern Cape government’s investigation, it wanted the safari company to be denied hunting permits. It also wants the individual hunter responsible to be “prohibited from hunting in the Eastern Cape”.
It said the hunt took place on the estate, near Makhanda. The incident was brought to its attention by concerned members of the public, it said.
In response, Peta said it sent an e-mail to Eastern Cape officials, asking for an “immediate investigation into the conduct and permits of the hunt and the outfitter’s subsequent endorsement of the hunter’s actions”.
“Peta is calling on authorities to do some digging and, if anything illegal was afoot, throw the book at everyone responsible for this sickening act,” said Peta senior vice-president, Jason Baker.
Eastern Cape economic development, environmental affairs & tourism department's communications manager, Ncedo Lisani, confirmed that it received the letter on Wednesday and that it was investigating.
In the letter, which was sent to TimesLIVE, Peta asks the department to examine the permits used for the hunt and the methods applied to secure retroactive permission for the additional buffalo killed.
“Since you are the head of the department responsible for issuing hunting permits and ensuring that hunting legislation is enforced, we request that you investigate the conduct of this botched hunt and address John X Safari’s endorsement of the hunter’s actions,” said Peta in the letter.
According to Peta, the hunter “ineptly” shot and wounded the animals, who “writhed and stumbled in agony” before slowly dying.
“This man laughed as he cruelly gunned down a pair of magnificent buffalo, and the outfit in charge of the hunt wasted no time boasting about it online,” said Baker, making reference to an Instagram post.
Peta said the hunter claims to have intentionally killed both buffalo, despite apparently having only secured advance permission to kill one and in defiance of the guide’s instructions to shoot only the first buffalo.
As the hunter appears to shoot the wrong buffalo, as captured in the video, the guide says: “No! I said the one on the right. Wait, wait!”
Afterwards, the hunter laughs and dismisses his guide’s concern over the extra kill, saying: “I guess I got $32,000” — which, Peta says, was double the original fee.
“I’m gonna be honest with ya, I saw him in the scope, and I took ‘em both,” the hunter can be heard saying.