Lion Hunter Pero Jelinić Killed by Foreign or Croatian Stray Bullet?

Daniela Rogulj

Details are still sketchy about who actually shot and killed Croatian hunter Pero Jelinić.

We’ve been following the story of Croatian lion hunter Pero Jelinić and his death after he was shot during a hunting expedition in South Africa over the weekend. International media including The Independent and the Evening Standard has jumped on the story while Croatian press has searched vigorously for more details. 

But who was it to shoot the Croatian hunter over the weekend? The details are still up in the air. 

Vecernji List reports on January 30, 2018, that after talking to Đivo Ćurlica of the Dubrovnik Croatian Hunters’ Safari Association, a professional foreign hunter shot the bullet that killed Jelinić. 

“It was an unlucky case, an unfortunate circumstance. It was the gunshot of a professional foreign hunter, and the bullet hit Pero,” said Ćurlica in a telephone interview with Vecernji List. 

On the other hand, Dnevnik reports on January 30, 2018, that the South African Police uncovered new details of what happened to Pero over the weekend, claiming that they know from whose gun the bullet was shot, though it is unclear how the situation unfolded. 

Dnevnik reports that the South African police explained that Jelinić was shot by one of his fellow Croatian hunters. The group of hunters on the South African expedition, which included three Croats, were hunting at a lion farm near Setlagol. During the hunt, the 75-year-old was allegedly tired, after which he handed his firearms to his colleagues from Croatia. Two of them continued to walk and follow one another. The 75-year-old allegedly walked in front of the other Croatian citizen in the group, and a bullet struck him in the shoulder. He was taken to a hospital in Vryburg where he died, said the South African police.

The details are still pretty sketchy about what exactly happened to Pero in South Africa. What we do know is that Pero Jelinić was killed while hunting lions over the weekend. The South African police confirmed that the hunter died at a hospital in Vryburg, and immediately opened an investigation to find out exactly what happened to the Croat. 

The news of his death shocked all his friends and colleagues on Saturday, including Slavko Pernar, a longtime friend who was in contact with him earlier this month. For a long time, he says, he planned to crown his rich hunting career with the trophy of the lion, but instead, it was the hunt to end his life.

Jelinić arrived on the island of Pag in the seventies to convey his experience in the hotel business which he acquired in Bonn, said Pernar. The hunters in the area had welcomed him warmly then, assisting him with finding work at a family home – and amongst everyone, he was a favorite, writes 057.

“He was a passionate hunter of big and small game, and in search of that, he traveled most of the world. For the past year, he had leased his hotel just to dedicate himself to the things he planned to accomplish and enjoyed a deserved retirement. He, unfortunately, received the ugliest end – he died doing what he loved,” Pernar said. 

Jelinić was extremely vibrant for his age, and he faced no problems traveling to Africa to hunt at the age of 75. Such a journey, Pernar says, usually lasts seven to nine days. 

“His office, a hunting hall, was full of trophies, deer and bear specimens and everything that could be hunted in Croatia and Europe. In this room he received friends, we will all miss him,” Pernar concluded. 

More details to follow. 


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