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A Croatian trophy hunter looking to “complete his extensive collection” of big game cat hides was shot dead in South Africa as he hunted lions.

Pero Jelinic, 75, was struck by a stray bullet from a fellow hunter’s rifle right after he had killed one lion and was preparing his shot to kill another nearby in the North West province of South Africa near Setlagole, local news outlets reported. Police spokesperson Charlize van der Linden told News24 that the retired Croatian hotelier was in the process of targeting the second lion when he was struck. 

Local police have opened an investigation into whether the shot that killed Jelinic as he was aiming at the second lion was an accident or a potential homicide. The hunt took place at the Leeubosch Lodge, about four hours from Johannesburg and 40 miles from the country's border with Botswana. 
The 75-year-old Croatian hotelier, Pero Jelinic, was shot dead as he aimed his rifle to kill a second lion. Photo: Picture: Pero Jelinic Facebook

“He was airlifted to Vryburg Hospital by helicopter, but doctors were unable to save the man's life," van der Linden told News24 Wednesday. “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.”

Friends of Jelinic told local news outlets that he loved “canned” big game hunting that is a controversial industry in which cats are bred in certain regions and hunters pay to track and kill them for trophies. Slavko Pernar, told Croatian paper Jutarnji List that Jelinic “was a passionate hunter of big and small game, and in search of that he travelled most of the world.”
His friends added that he had leased his hotel in order to “dedicate himself” to big game trophy hunting in his 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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