Wildlife conservationists are outraged after a video released by the New Yorker and The Trace on Tuesday showed Wayne LaPierre, Jr., the executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, and his wife fatally shooting two endangered elephants in Botswana’s Okavango Delta in 2013.
According to the outlets, they obtained a copy of the video, which was originally filmed for an NRA-sponsored television series but never aired due to public relations concerns.
In the ten-minute video, LaPierre can be seen shooting and wounding a savannah elephant his guides tracked for him.
The video shows the N.R.A. chief failing to kill the animal with three shots at point-blank range as the animal lies immobile on the ground.
“After LaPierre’s first shot wounded the elephant, guides brought him a short distance from the animal, which was lying on its side, immobilized. Firing from point-blank range, LaPierre shot the animal three times in the wrong place,” The New Yorker reported. “Finally, a guide had the host of ‘Under Wild Skies’ fire the shot that killed the elephant.”
“Later that day, Susan LaPierre showed herself to be a better shot than her husband. After guides tracked down an elephant for her, Susan killed it, cut off its tail, and held it in the air,” the magazine reported.
Savannah elephants were recently moved to endangered status on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Endangered Species, a global authority on the status of species, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.
“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,” Tanya Sanerib, international legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement.
“It’s sickening to see 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?”