Police have opened an investigation to determine if the shooting of the 75-year-old man was accidental or a homicide.
Pero Jelinic, a 75-year-old hotelier from the Croatian island of Pag, died from a gunshot wound Saturday while hunting lions in a canned hunting operation in South Africa.
Jelinic had reportedly already killed one lion and was tracking another when a bullet struck him and took his life.
“He (Jelinic) was airlifted to Vryburg Hospital by helicopter, but doctors were unable to save the man’s life,” Police spokesperson Charlize van der Linden indicated.
She also said police have opened an investigation into the shooting.
“A case of culpable homicide has been opened, and police are also investigating charges of illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition. At this stage it is not clear who fired the fatal shot that killed Mr Jelinic. Our investigations are ongoing.”
Canned lion hunting is a very controversial subject criticized by many in the hunting community. However, Jelinic was taking part in a legal hunt.
“(He) was a passionate hunter of big and small game, and in search of that, he travelled most of the world,” Jelinic’s friend, Slavko Pernar, told the Jutarnji List. “For the past year, he had leased his hotel to dedicate himself to the things he planned to accomplish and enjoy a deserved retirement. He, unfortunately, received the ugliest end—he died in South Africa doing what he loved.”
Dr. Gideon Engelbrecht, the owner of Leeubosch Lodge where Jelinic was hunting, was not at the lodge at the time..
“I was at my surgery when I received the call,” Engelbrecht said. “I arranged for a helicopter to take the man to hospital, but that’s all I am going to give you at this stage, because the case is still under investigation.”
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