South African game hunter crushed to death by slain elephant

Theunis Botha was killed in Zimbabwe when an elephant shot by one of his clients collapsed on him

South African game hunter crushed to death by slain elephant

Theunis Botha, right, poses with a client and a felled lioness []

A South African big game hunter was crushed to death by an elephant cow in Zimbabwe after a woman in the hunting party he was leading shot the animal.

Theunis Botha, 51, had led hunting trips across grasslands for nearly 30 years, gaining a reputation as a specialist tracker of leopards and lions, according to his company’s website.

Last Friday, Botha embarked on a routine hunting trip into western Zimbabwe. But things went awry when the group stumbled upon a breeding herd of elephants in Hwange National Park.

Panicked at the sight of intruders, three of the elephant cows charged the members of the group. According to News24, Botha opened fire, but was surprised by a fourth female elephant, which rammed into him from the side and lifted him with her trunk. A woman in the hunting party fired a shot at this fourth cow, which collapsed on top of Botha, killing him.

Botha is survived by his wife, Carike, and their five children.

Friends and clients – many of whom are wealthy Americans personally courted by Botha to take part in trophy hunts – took to Facebook to express their grief at his death.

“A legend has fallen but will never be forgotten,” one user wrote. “It’s with a sad heart that we say goodbye to you.”

“I’m crying. RIP my brother,” another wrote.

Other comments were significantly less sympathetic, with many obscenity-strewn posts critical of the controversial way in which the game hunter made his living.


Botha’s death comes only a month after another high-profile game hunter was killed by a crocodile in Zimbabwe. Scott van Zyl, 44, disappeared on April 7th, while hunting game with his dogs in Chikwaraka Camp.

His remains were identified by DNA samples taken from the stomachs of two crocodiles shot dead during the search for him after his equipment was found on the banks of the Limpopo River.

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