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Success! German Animal Conservationist Who Shot Elephant Has Resigned

Success! German Animal Conservationist Who Shot Elephant Has Resigned

“Dwindling.” “Fewer and fewer.” With wearying frequency, these are the terms used to describe the ever-declining number of elephants in the world as poachers slaughter them for their ivory tusks. Amid rising fear that ours could be the last generation to see elephants in the wild, many have been cheered to know of conservationists’ campaigns to put a stop to the illegal ivory trade.

Finding out that a German environment minister, Ude Wedekind, had recently gone†hunting in Africa and killed an elephant was shocking, mind-boggling news that led many of us to wonder, how serious are those who say they are championing endangered species and the environment?

Care2 members know what has to be done to save wildlife whose existence is threatened. More than 36,000 of you signed a petition demanding that Wedekind be fired for hunting those he should be protecting. Earlier this month, Wedekind was forced to resign from his position as environment minister in the central German province of Thuringia.

Wedekind had killed the elephant early in December while on a trip to Botswana. As German news magazine Der Spiegel reports, he fired more than 20 shots to kill the elephant who then “sought for a long time to flee.” Back in Germany, Wedekind proceeded to email photos of the dead elephant and himself (holding up a gun),†apparently to convey his “big game hunter qualities.”

Wedekind’s boasts turned out to be his undoing. His email, with photo attachments, was forwarded by more than a few and ended up in Der Spiegel’s inbox.

Animal and environmental advocates were quick to show their disgust about someone who hunts elephants and sends around selfies of himself doing it. Opposition politicians in Thuringia were also outraged.†Wedekind, who had figured prominently in his province’s government (“directly behind the Minister and the Secretary of State,” comments Der Spiegel),†soon had no choice but to resign.

A huge thanks goes to Care2 members who signed the petition that called for Wedekind to step down!

Wedekind was not at all contrite. As it was becoming too clear that he had no choice but to resign, he still declared that he keeps plenty of “living and dead animals.”

It’s a statement to leave one puzzled over the now-former environmental minister’s actual commitment to the cause he says he’s in support of, in the same way that one can’t help but find it jarring that Prince William and Prince Harry can call themselves†defenders of wildlife while very happily heading out to hunt pheasants, wild boar and (as revealed by a just-revealed photo of the younger Prince) water buffalo.

Clearly those who title themselves conservationists need to be held accountable. All the more reason you should start a petition and let officials know that those who truly and deeply advocate for the welfare of animals — Care2 members like you — don’t hesitate to speak up and take action.

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389 comments

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4:41PM PDT on Apr 15, 2014

There is powers in numbers and at least Ude Wedekind was shamed into resigning. Especially since he is obviously not an animal conservationist.

8:41AM PDT on Apr 13, 2014

those who take perverse pleasure in killing animals for fun or for trophy only, are no good to humankind & are as salt that has lost it's flavor, good for nothing but to be trodden under the foot of man.

8:30AM PDT on Apr 13, 2014

To Ms.Amy L. :
Let us hope & pray that the "serial killer" you speak of, is a wild animal with 99 lives...
and may we be so lucky & blessed That the animal would kill him s-l-o-w-l-y, & make it as painful as possible.

7:55AM PDT on Apr 13, 2014

The article clearly stated that Ude Wedekind is not remorseful for his actions. Basically he gets off on the thrill of murdering animals. Hopefully he will cross paths with a sadistic serial killer one of these days and then he'll be extinct and the world will certainly be better for it.

7:41AM PDT on Apr 13, 2014

Like other "sportsmen" who find some perverse pleasure in killing wild animals (Ted Nugent is another sicko who comes to mind), Wedekind is a semi-evolved, blood-lusting sub-human whose mind and values are sick, twisted, warped, perverted, and depraved. Resigning is not good enough. Execute the son-of -a bitch.

6:13PM PDT on Apr 9, 2014

Generally speaking, the way you treat an animal is the way they will treat you....Now there are exceptions to this rule, but not many.
Most 4 egged animals, from elephants on down, are social animals & thrive on being treated respectfully, & being social with other animals and/or humans.

Elephants are for the most part, very docile animals, & all they really want is to be treated respectfully. They usually only attack if they feel threatened, or if you try to get between mama & baby.
I'm glad that this bozo is no longer working with elephants...the elephants deserve better.

12:59PM PDT on Apr 8, 2014

Well, I'm glad for the 'success' worth the signature. I hope that Germany is looking for a replacement who is truly suited to the task at hand. Sorry that the guy proved to be such a, um, louse. I don't understand any better than the author the comment about "...living and dead animals"? Or maybe I don't want to know.

4:58PM PDT on Mar 25, 2014

I KNEW that Elephants were endangered, & for them, the hunting season should be closed till the numbers get back to where they should be...I am against any & all hunting of endangered animals...

I was unaware that Water Buffalo were endangered...in that case, hunting them should be against the law as well.

I shall remove(if I can) my previous comment about the Water Buffalo...

4:16PM PDT on Mar 25, 2014

James,
Wild water buffalo are endangered and live only in a small number of protected areas in India, Nepal, and Bhutan, and a wildlife reserve in Thailand. If it was domesticated stock, no problem, but if it was wild, it was endangered. They are genetically distinct populations.

I don't oppose all hunting either, but did you read the part about shooting the elephant 20 times and how it tried to flee "for a long time"? That's a horrific way to die, and not sporting in the least. I call that a botched kill. Add to that the intelligence and close family ties of an elephant, and you have something truly awful.

4:12PM PDT on Mar 25, 2014

James, the source of the water buffalo makes a difference. Wild water buffalo are endangered and live only in a small number of protected areas in India, Nepal, and Bhutan, and a wildlife reserve in Thailand. They are genetically distinct, and continuously being watered down (no pun intended) by interbreeding with domestic stock.

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