A safari industry representative on Monday said that an Italian father and his son were killed by a wildlife ranger while on anti-poaching patrol in Zimbabwe.
Emmanuel Fundira, head of the Safari Operators Association, said “Claudio Chiarelli, who was an accomplished professional hunter who brought European tourists to Zimbabwe, was accidentally shot with his son and they both died.”
Fifty-year-old Chiarelli had lived in Zimbabwe since 1982, and his son Massimiliano, 20, was born in the country, said an Italian embassy official.
The incident happened on Sunday while “Claudio and some colleagues were on a trip with a parks anti-poaching unit when a ranger came from nowhere and shot at them while they were standing outside their vehicle,” said Fundira.
"We understand it was a case of mistaken identity," he added.
Fundira said that private individuals regularly assist the Zimbabwean parks department's anti-poaching activities by providing logistical support for patrols.
"We can confirm it happened yesterday at Mana Pools National Park, but we are not aware of the exact details," said the official.
"We are in contact with the family. It's a tragedy. The loss of a father and a son, and also for Zimbabwe for the bad publicity it will generate."
The government parks department and police said they were investigating the incident.