Butchering an elephant is a communal affair, and every bit of the elephant is utilized.
Big animals generally require many hands to process it effectively and efficiently.
This African village comes together to butcher an elephant much like the Makah Indians used to collectively butcher gray whales.
If you have enough people involved, it doesn’t take long for a six-ton elephant to be processed, shared, and consumed.
In many African communities, poverty is a harsh reality for a significant number of the population, so word gets out fast when an elephant goes down.
It doesn’t take long for the locals to converge on a kill and make short work of it before their four-legged rivals arrive to claim the prize.
As you might imagine, butchering a large animal in hot weather means you need to fast. So how do you butcher an elephant? You use a lot of muscle, sharp knives, and a tractor to turn the behemoth.
They are able to work only one side of the beast at a time. As soon as the skinning process is completed on one side, they begin working various sections of that side, cutting large chunks of meat from the carcass.
Others not directly involved in the knife work build fires and begin cooking the meat directly on the hot coals and passing pieces to everyone present.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the process is when a tractor comes in to turn the beast over, so work can begin on the other side.
It’s not hard to imagine animal rights advocates witnessing something like this and bemoaning the loss of the elephant without an equal concern for the people it feeds.
The overall African elephant population is currently listed as vulnerable, not endangered, due primarily to habitat loss. However, they are grossly overpopulated in certain areas.
Zimbabwe currently has between 70,000 and 80,000 elephants, which is twice as many as the land can comfortably handle. Conflicts between humans and elephants increase in such unbalanced conditions, with both sides suffering unfortunate consequences.
Elephants kill approximately 500 people a year. The giants are considered dangerous pests in a number of areas, because they endanger lives and property.
Enter the sport hunter to offer a solution. GotHunts lays it out in simple terms:
- It is legal to hunt elephants in many African countries.
- The meat is given to local people. It’s never wasted.
- The money from hunting the elephant benefits elephant conservation.
- The trophy fee on a elephant is quite expensive. It’s more than any of the locals will make in a lifetime, so this system works out well for all involved.
Photos via GotHunts