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VIdeo of elephant shooting turns into donations

VIdeo of elephant shooting turns into donations

April 8th, 2011 in News

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) - A video of an American CEO shooting an elephant in Zimbabwe that villagers then sliced apart for meat has raised thousands of dollars for a conservation group after a rival Internet firm used the graphic footage to steal away customers.

The founder of Save The Elephants, Iain Douglas-Hamilton, said he was surprised but appreciative by the more than $20,000 in funds raised by Internet domain registration site Namecheap.

Namecheap offered to donate $1 for every customer who opened a new account with them after the chief executive of their competitor GoDaddy.com appeared in the video of an elephant being killed last month.

"It's a very sad, tragic thing when elephants have to be shot. I find the glorification totally out of place," Douglas-Hamilton said Wednesday.

In the video, GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons is seen standing in a field of green sorghum whose stalks have been trampled, and portrays the shooting as a solution to crop-killing elephants.

"Properly dealing with problem elephants saves crops, feeds villages and helps maintain elephant herds," a graphic on the video says. "Damage is extensive. Unless elephant(s) are stopped entire crop may be lost. When crops are lost subsistence farmers risk starvation."

A team of hunters tracks down three elephants at night and killed one.

The following morning swarms of what the video calls "hungry villagers" - some in GoDaddy.com hats - hack at the elephant for meat. It says some have walked for 20 miles.

But Douglas-Hamilton said the issue is more complicated than the video portrays. He did not believe the villagers were starving, though he said meat is valued and worth a long walk.

"You can't control crop raiding in Africa through foreign hunters. It's not going to work," he said. "It's a perk for people who enjoy killing elephants to justify themselves."

Namecheap, a domain name registration company that competes with GoDaddy, said it was disturbed by the video and decided to "throw our support behind our elephant friends" by offering website name transfers for $4.99, with $1 going to the elephants. The company announced Tuesday on Twitter that it raised $20,433.