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Professional hunters lose licences after killing research elephant in Botswana

Two professional hunters have lost their hunting licences after fatally shooting a research elephant in Botswana.

African elephant (file photo). Source: istock.com

Michael Lee Potter and Kevin Sharp voluntarily surrendered their licences following the incident last month, according to the BBC.

The elephant had been wearing a collar, giving it protected status, despite a ban on elephant hunting being lifted in the country in May.

"The period of the surrender of Mr Potter's licence is indefinite while Mr Sharp's licence will be surrendered for a period of three years with immediate effect," the government said in a statement yesterday.

The pair have also been ordered to replace the destroyed collar. It's currently unknown how the collar was damaged.

In an earlier statement, the hunters claimed they did not see the collar until after it was shot because the animal was "in a full-frontal position".

Reuters earlier reported that the men destroyed the collar in order to hide evidence of the shooting.

There are an estimated 130,000 elephants in Botswana.