Trophy Hunter Dies After Being Crushed by Elephant in Zimbabwe

Image: Wikimedia Commons

A 51-year-old big-game hunter from South Africa died in Zimbabwe after he was crushed by a dying elephant that had been shot by a fellow hunter.

Theunis Botha, who led hunting expeditions through his company Big Game Safaris, was with a group when they came upon a breeding herd of elephants at the Good Luck Ranch near Hwange National Park, according to the South African news site News24.

Three of the animals charged toward the hunting party and Botha shot at them. But a fourth elephant charged from the side and lifted him with her trunk, reports say.

One of the other hunters fired a fatal shot at the fourth elephant, which then fell on top of Botha.

According to his company website, Botha was known for a method of leopard and lion hunting using specially-trained hounds to track the animals and lure them toward hunters. The approach is inspired by traditional Monteria hunting in Spain, where dogs are used to hunt wild boar and deer.

Licensed hunting is legal in Zimbabwe, where safaris can cost tens of thousands of dollars. But critics of the controversial sport say the practice is cruel and endangers vulnerable species.