Big game hunting has been put under the spotlight after a professional hunter and guide was trampled to death, while tracking an elephant bull in musth.
News of Ian Gibson’s death was announced on AfricaHunting.com’s forum on Wednesday morning.
“It is with deep sadness to announce the passing of Chifuti Safaris professional hunter Ian Gibson. Ian was tragically killed by an elephant bull earlier today while guiding and elephant hunt in Chewore North (lower Zambezi Valley),” the notice, written on behalf of affiliated company Safari Classics, read.
Gibson had apparently been on the trail of an elephant bull, along with his tracker, Robert, while the client whom they were accompanying rested with the game scout.
They soon established that the animal was in musth, but continued tracking it, until they eventually spotted it about 50 – 100m away.
“The bull instantly turned and began a full charge. Ian and Robert began shouting in order to stop the charge. At very close range, Ian was able to get off one shot before the bull killed him. The scene was very graphic,” the notice concluded.
The announcement was picked up by Africa Geographic on Thursday and saw a flood of comments, highlighting the extreme contentiousness of the issue of big game hunting.
“It is with deep sadness to who? Not to me, that’s for sure! This is the best news I’ve heard in a very long time. I just hope the elephant is ok, and if so, remains so. Good riddance to this sad excuse of a human being. May he rot in hell for eternity,” one comment, left by a reader called Natalie, read.
Another, called Cranky, responded to her comment, saying: “Natalie, Ian Gibson has done more for Conservation than you and your bunny hugger friends will ever achieve in your pathetic existence.”
While most seemed to agree with Natalie’s view, the incident has raised serious questions about the value of these sorts of excursions and whether big 5 hunting should still be allowed at all.
A similar debate was sparked recently when Australian cricket legend, Glen McGrath made headline news as images of him posing with a variety of dead animals he had shot and killed surfaced online.
“If it were not for hunting there would be very little game in SA. Only due to it’s hunting value does game exist on game farms. If the animals had no commercial value they would be replaced by cattle,” John Birch commented on the Traveller24 article.