Tributes and scorn for big game hunter killed after being crushed by elephant he fatally shot

In news reporting, we call this newsworthy because it’s ironic.

A big game hunter who makes his living from being a hunting guide was killed after he shot a female elephant and then got crushed to death when the elephant collapsed on him.

Theunis Botha, 51, runs a hunting expedition company in South Africa called Big Game Safari and Hounds and had just taken on a group of four hunters in Gwai, Zimbabwe.

The company specializes in using dogs to hunt big game. Botha specializes in leopard hunting and uses hunting dogs to seek out the prey.

In the incident, the hunting group had come across a herd of breeding elephants. Three elephants charged directly at the hunters, but a fourth elephant caught them by surprise as she charged them from the side.

That elephant picked up Botha with her trunk, and one of the hunters shot her, causing her to collapse on top of Botha. The elephant and Botha were both killed.

Elephants have long been known to express grief over the loss of other elephants and they express emotions including empathy. Within their herds, there are established societies, they protect each other and communicate with each other in the herd with gestures and signs.

While elephants have been known to kill people, the ratio is decidedly uneven. Each year, some 33,000 elephants are killed by poachers for their ivory.

In the case with Botha the hunter, the dying female managed to pick him up with her trunk before collapsing and crushing the hunter to death.

While friends and family paid tribute to the father-of-five, critics of big-game hunting labelled his death as “pure karma”.

“You should be crying for the innocent elephant that was senselessly murdered not this idiot hunter who deserved what he got,” one man wrote.

Photo credit: Big Game Safaris and Hounds

h/t: Maroelamedia

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Peg Fong is also in recovery from newspapers


  1. A stupid hunter who did nothing great in his passage through the land, but left irreparable marks on nature, marks of pain, suffering and impiety. His end was very little suffered to balance the decades of slaughter!

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