South African hunter crushed to death by elephant 


Stuart Graham, The Telegraph

Date Published

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A South African big game hunter died after being crushed by an elephant cow that had been shot on a game reserve in Zimbabwe at the weekend.

Theunis Botha, 51, was leading a hunt with clients when the group accidentally walked into the middle of a breeding herd of elephants at the Good Luck Farm near Hwange National Park late on Friday afternoon, Zimparks spokesman Mr Simukai Nyasha said.

Three of the elephant cows charged the hunters. Mr Botha fired a shot from his rifle but he was caught by surprise by a fourth cow that stormed them from the side, the Afrikaans news site Netwerk24 reported.

One of the hunters shot the elephant after she lifted Botha with her trunk.The elephant then collapsed on top of Mr Botha, who has five children with his wife Carike Botha.

Mr Botha was a highly regarded houndsman and frequently led leopard and lion hunting safaris with his pack of dogs. The website of his company Game Hounds Safaris says he pioneered traditional European-style “Monteria hunts” in southern Africa. In Monteira hunts large packs of dogs are used to drive deer and boar towards hunters who then open fire on the animals.

Mr Botha was a specialist at hunting leopards with his big game hounds. He would often travel to the United States to find wealthy customers to take part in trophy hunting in southern Africa.

Mr Botha’s body was taken to Hwange Colliery Hospital mortuary on Saturday. Condolences poured from hunters, who mourned the death of a “world-class houndsman” after Mrs Botha announced her husband’s death on their joint Facebook page. Mr Botha was close friends with Scott van Zyl, 44, who was killed by crocodiles while hunting in Zimbabwe last month.

Mr Van Zyl was on a hunt at the Chikwaraka camp in Zimbabwe when he disappeared on April 7. His backpack was found on the banks of the Limpopo River days later.

DNA samples taken from contents found in the stomachs of two crocodiles that were shot during the search matched Mr Van Zyl.

Last year a tourist, Stephen Coetzee was trampled to death by a female elephant in Hwange National Park. Mr Coetzee, from Bulawayo, was taking pictures of the animals when they charged.

Villagers in Hwange and the surrounding nearby areas often complained of losing livestock and crops to elephants in the area.