The elephant was shot on October 8th and was estimated to be 40-60 years old. The tusks of the elephant alone were about 120 pounds. Currently, controlled hunting is legal in Zimbabwe, Tanzania, South Africa, Zambia, and Mozambique. Controlled hunting is the practice in which hunters can bid for a certain amount of animals but they are not allowed to kill endangered animals. The hunters are also not allowed to kill impregnated females and mating males.
Much of the outrage surrounding elephant hunting stems from empathy for the animals. Elephants have been observed displaying behavior that mimics human emotion, including in-depth mourning rituals. Highly social animals, elephants grieve heavily for those who are a part of their social group, but they also show concern for injured and dead elephants who they have not spent significant time with. Specific rituals include covering the body with leaves or grass and staying with the body for days after death. Young elephants have even been found to wake up screaming after witnessing the killing of their mothers.
Still, others would rather see big game hunting as a legal activity. Some value hunting as a sport and and a source for thrill, but others have more pragmatic reasons for their support. Legalizing hunting, they argue, would allow for the government to be able to control the killing of endangered species. Any old animal will eventually die, so allowing the hunting of old males that are unable to mate will not significantly impact populations. Often people will pay significant fees for their hunts, and that money has the potential to go towards conservation efforts. The argument follows that if hunting is done in a way that is fully legal and directed, animal lives could actually be saved through the practice.