Big game hunter shot dead while hunting lions in South Africa

Croatian Pero Jelinic was killed in unexplained incident as he took aim

(Image credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

A Croatian trophy hunter who, according to friends, had “hunted everything that could be hunted in Europe” has been shot dead while taking part in a South African hunting expedition.

Pero Jelinic was struck by a bullet while hunting captive-bred lions in South Africa. The pursuit - often called “canned hunting” - is legal but “recently came under fire from reputable international and African hunting organisations”, according to New Zealand news website Stuff.

Trophy hunter Jelinic had “already shot one lion dead and had another in his sights when he was shot at a remote lodge near Setlagole”, Total Croatia News reports.

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A police spokesperson told News24 that it had not been established who fired the fatal shot. South African police have opened a culpable homicide (manslaughter) investigation, and are also investigating charges of illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Jelinic’s long-time friend Slavko Pernar told the Daily Mail that Jelinic wanted to shoot a lion in Africa, having killed “everything that could be hunted in Europe”.

According to Pernar, Jelinic was particularly keen on claiming the head of a lion “to crown his rich hunting career”. Over the past year, Jelinic had even leased out the hotel he owned in order to dedicate his time to that ambition.

“Pero was a passionate hunter of big and small game, and in search of that he travelled most of the world,” Pernar told Croatian newspaper Jutarnji List.

“For the past year he had leased his hotel to dedicate himself to the things he planned to accomplish and enjoyed a deserved retirement.

“He, unfortunately, received the ugliest end - he died in South Africa doing what he loved. His office, a hunting hall, was full of trophies, deer and bear specimens and everything that could be hunted in Croatia and Europe.”

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