A Canadian student on summer break in Zimbabwe went on a bizarre shooting spree in the country’s Gonarezhou National Park. Trevor Gauthier, a Vancouver native who is also an avid conservationist, shot down 17 adult elephants in the space of nine minutes in a horrific incident that left many shocked. Friends say he only stopped when his rifle jammed.
It is unclear why Gauthier shot down the elephants, but Larry Proulx, a friend and fellow conservationist, says his friend had been disillusioned during the whole trip. “He kept saying that we’d been lied to after discovering that Zimbabwe’s elephant population was over 20 000, which is apparently well above the game reserve capacity here. It caused him to drink constantly, but I didn’t know it would come to this,” he said somberly.
Police say Gauthier, who has been in custody since the incident happened yesterday morning, has been incoherent. Police spokesman Solomon Moyo told reporters, “The young man keeps saying, “we have to save the locals; too many elephants; shoot the beasts,” and he seems to be too distressed. We do acknowledge that he indeed committed a crime, but he truly needs help.”
Proulx says he will do all he can to make sure his friend is freed. He also added that finding out the actual population of elephants in the country has given him a ‘new and fresh perspective.’