A well-known South African big game hunter and tour operator has been crushed by a falling elephant in the same park where Cecil the Lion was shot dead by an American hunter in July 2015, sparking an international outcry.
While shooting wild animals on a tour with clients at Good Luck farm near Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park Theunis Botha, 51, and his group found themselves in the middle of a breeding herd of elephants.
A Zimparks spokesperson told the UK’s Daily Telegraph that when three female elephants charged the hunters, Botha fired a shot from his rifle. A fourth female appeared and lifted Botha with its trunk. A second shot rang out as another hunter fired and killed the elephant – which then collapsed on top of Botha, killing him instantly.
The Telegraph said Botha, a father of five, was a highly regarded houndsman and frequently led leopard and lion hunting safaris with his pack of dogs.
The website of Botha’s company Game Hounds Safaris says: “Theunis Botha perfected leopard and lion hunting safaris with hounds in Africa. He pioneered traditional European style driven Monteria hunts in South Africa. A passionate and professional hunting outfitter operation focussed on giving his clients a unique exciting African safari experience.”
Monteria hunts involve large packs of dogs. The dogs drive deer and boar towards hunters, who then shoot them.
Botha, who specialized in hunting leopards with his big game hounds, often travelled to the US to find wealthy clients, the paper reported.
It added that Botha was close friends with Scott van Zyl, 44, who perished last month – devoured by crocodiles while hunting with a pack of dogs in Zimbabwe. Van Zyl disappeared mysteriously and just his backpack and dogs remained. His remains were later found in the stomachs of two crocodiles shot in the Limpopo River.