A big game hunter was killed after an elephant he had shot collapsed on top of him, crushing him instantly.
Theunis Botha, 51, was a professional big game hunter on safari in Gwai, Zimbabwe. He and his team had been hunting elephants when a group of four breeding elephant cows stormed his group. One of them picked Botha up by the trunk when a safari-mate delivered the killing shot, causing the elephant to collapse with Botha still in the cow’s grip.
Botha was crushed beneath several tons of elephant, killing him instantly.
Condolences flooded the hunter’s Facebook page, hailing the hunter as a “legend”, while critics of big game hunting lauded Botha’s untimely demise at the hands of the very creature he had killed.
Born in the town of Tzaneen, South Africa, Both began his safari company, Theunis Botha Big Game Safaris and Hounds, in the 1980s. “Specialists outfitter in Leopard hunting in Africa with big game hounds,” it reads on the company website - hounds being a traditional method for tracking the highly elusive leopard.
In addition to leopard hunting, Bothas and company would take on any big African game, from lions to elephants, often taking wealthy foreigners on long hunts in the savannah.
On Friday afternoon, Botha and his team were hunting a group of elephants when three of them began to charge. Botha and company began firing when a fourth elephant stormed out of the brush and surprised the group. It scooped Botha up in her trunk while one hunter fired on the big cow. Grievously wounded, the elephant collapsed with Botha beneath her, crushing the hunter.
One friend of the family wrote on Botha’s Facebook: "A legend has fallen but will never be forgotten... It's with a sad heart that we say goodbye to you Oom Theunis Botha. Our deepest condolences to the family. May God be with you all in this difficult time."
However, some people critical of big game hunting took the elephant’s side with one writing, "You should be crying for the innocent elephant that was senselessly murdered not this idiot hunter who deserved what he got."
The story also hit Twitter, with many users called it an act of “karma.”
My thoughts and prayers are to all the animals this hunter killed. An elephant falling on you after being shot by you is called Karma. https://t.co/bFgaNbkp7c— Michelle Bocik (@michelle_bocik) January 2, 2018