The farmer who gave Mugabe the baby elephant, Tendai Musasa, told the Los Angeles Times he chose the young bull because he had a "tendency of charging and hostility to farmers." Musasa said that the killing was meant as a message to other elephants not to be aggressive:
"They're going to the ripe corn. They become aggressive, stubborn and unflinching in their attacks. Elephants have got characters, like human beings ... We send a message to the rest of them not to be rogue animals. We put down the most formidable charger or aggressor to say to the rest, 'Don't do this thing.' "
Conflicts between humans and elephants are a major problem in some parts of Africa, often resulting from human encroachment on elephant habitat. Strategies to protect farms from elephants who once considered the land home include installing beehive walls to stave off marauding elephants, building electric fences and even using chilli pepper spray as a deterrent. Any of these could be used to ward off an "aggressive" elephant - instead of serving him on a plate to a wealthy leader.