African Trophy Hunter Dies, Crushed by Dead Elephant

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Professional hunter Theunis Botha was crushed to death by a dying elephant in Zimbabwe. (Photo: Botha/The Sun)

Professional trophy hunter and houndsman Theunis Botha, 51, died last Friday, after killing an elephant. A hunter delivered a fatal shot to an elephant cow at very close range and as she collapsed, the elephant fell on Botha, killing him.

According to sources Botha was leading a small group on a walk that afternoon when they encountered a breeding herd of elephants at a farm in Zimbabwe. Three female elephants charged the hunters while a fourth flanked the group, attacking Botha.

The elephant picked Botha up with her trunk when one of the hunters took a shot at her, killing the elephant. The elephant toppled, crushing Botha.

The group was traveling through the Good Luck Farm near Hwange National Park, said Simukai Nyasha, a Zimparks spokesman, to the Sun.

The hunter posing with a trophy. (Photo: Botha/the Sun)

Nyasha said that Botha was on a licensed 10-day hunt when he “Unknowingly got in the middle of a breeding herd of elephants with several calves and was trampled to death.”

Botha “perfected” large cat hunting using hounds. (Photo: Botha/the Sun)

Known to many as a world-class hunter, he is survived by his wife Carike and five children. News of his death has produced a mixed reaction. Friends and family posted supportful messages like “RIP Theunis Botha. Our heartfelt condolences to Carike and family. He was a great man! So sad,” and “A legend has fallen but will never be forgotten … It’s with a sad heart that we say goodbye to you Oom Theunis Botha.”

See Also: Ricky Gervais Slams Trophy Huntress on Twitter

Others were much less sympathetic, saying “Karma! Theunis Botha big game hunter crushed to death by elephant he killed,” and called him a “vile slaughterer of beautiful creatures,” and “a big game murderer.”

Bothea was a pioneer of what he called “European-Style Driven Monteria hunting” in South Africa using dogs to flush leopards and lions to hunters.

“A passionate and professional hunting outfitter operation focused on giving his clients a unique exiting African safari experience,” his website describes him.

News of Botha’s death follows the discovery of another professional Zimbabwe hunter killed by prey, Scott van Zyl, 44. Zyl’s remains were discovered in the stomach contents of two crocodiles after he disappeared in April.

{ 50 comments… add one }
  • tjn May 31, 2017, 12:38 pm

    Phil–looks like the trophy hunting issue has really touched a nerve. Let’s review some of your insightful comments: “Trophy hunters are the equivalent of child molesters”. Trophy hunters are “cowardly, psychopathic narcissists with penile deficiency” “My only hope is that this bitch screamed like a girl and someone got it on video.” “I cannot conceive of a defense for it.” Pretty vile rants about a group of people you really have not met and who ,in fact reflect a broad cross-section of American society. I think your comments speak volumes about your personality, character–or lack thereof, and the small and closed mind that you possess. I will not resort to personal attacks since I’ve never met you—but wait, didn’t I see you at WalMart— the fat boy with the macho gun T-shirt, cargo pants with the 1911 hanging out of the side pocket, exposed butt-crack while you were bending over to pick up the latest ninja video game? If that wasn’t you, please accept my apology–it’s easy to stereotype idiots like you.

    • M. Laurenzi June 8, 2017, 12:47 pm

      Full disclosure: I am one of the ‘idiots’ who look at this event as karma, and I would benefit if someone from the intelligent crowd could please explain to me what is the purpose of killing animals other than for survival (self defense, food)?

      • Frank June 26, 2017, 10:24 pm

        M. Laurenzi – Wildlife population management, habitat management, and disease monitoring for starters. I the US, you need to submit the brain of an elk or deer to test for CWD, which as a PRION disease is capable of infecting humans and livestock. Legal hunting is an important tool. I think humans have a responsibility to manage wildlife these days since we’ve disrupted the natural balance with our own overpopulating the planet. Just my 2 cents.

  • Al May 31, 2017, 6:32 am

    One word: KARMA

  • mike May 27, 2017, 4:29 pm

    WOW….must be a lot of PETA members on this webpage?

  • Stan May 27, 2017, 4:10 pm

    Thank god I will never have to worry about an ar500 steel plate falling down and killing me. I laughed so hard that this dope at least “died doing what he loved to do”, wonder if last thoughts were Oh Crap as the poor animal fell. No I don’t hunt, I do shoot any rodent I see around the house and would drop someone in my house without a second thought as I live in a state that allows you to defend your home. I have a bunch of guns of all types so I am not anti gun but I do look down at “these people”. Don’t worry about the wife and kids, we will be supporting them when she starts getting SSI benefits till they are 18 or 21 if they stay in school.

    • Alan May 30, 2017, 3:46 pm

      Stan, you are one hell of a jackass.
      He wasn’t a us Citizen, nor even in the U.S., so where does this SSI crap come from???
      And laughing at a man who died while doing a legal and legitimate job???
      And your empathy for the wife and kids is stellar, for a heartless bastard.
      Says a lot about your character, or rather the lack thereof.

  • Andrew N. May 26, 2017, 9:46 pm

    Y’know, for supposed “Gun People” you don’t know DICK about Trophy Hunting. I am a non-hunter by ethical choice. Not an anti-hunter, a non-hunter, which is a big difference. Gun people always preach education in the face of ignorance, so I’ll do the same. I suggest you go check out the Dallas Safari Club website, and do some reading on what happens during and after a hunt. The indigenous peoples get the meat, a boon to a protein scarce area. The jobs created for the locals also bring hard currency to a place where none normally exists. Trophy Hunters only take animals that are old males well past their prime, saving them the horrible deaths that usually befall the old and the weak in Africa. Old lions, like Cecil, who, live in the wild are usually torn to shreds by Hyenas and eaten. I’d rather be shot, thanx. The hunters also give the animals “value” as opposed to them being a nuisance to locals. Any place that outlaws “trophy hunting” sees a dramatic increase in indiscriminate killing of breeding age and younger animals, decimating the population in short order. Trophy Hunting provides money for conservation and anti=poaching efforts as well. Go educate yourself, you sound like the Liberal idiots we all detest. By the way, this guy was killed defending himself, they weren’t hunting elephants.

  • TJN May 26, 2017, 9:37 pm

    WOW! I’m amazed at the uninformed , callous comments of some readers of this GunsAmerica column. It reminds me of the ignorant, emotional mindset of the antigun lobby and their response to the availability of “evil, black, assault rifles whose only purpose is to kill innocent women and children.”
    The reality is that sport–aka trophy–hunting has done more to increase sustainable game populations , protect and improve habitat and educate the indigenous people of the value of their wildlife than any other activity. The largest threat to African wildlife is loss of habitat secondary to the expanding population and poaching, whether commercial or subsistence, not regulated sport hunting. Sport hunting infuses millions of dollars into the African economy. It provides thousands of jobs to local tribesmen/women and essentially funds all of the countries’ game departments and antipoaching activities. The CAMPFIRE program in Zimbabwe is funded by hunting dollars and is a model for resource management and an incentive for tribal participation in wildlife management. Why would a tribe tolerate the destruction of their crops by elephants–because the elephant has value. They are reimbursed for their loss by hunters’ dollars. They are employed by the hunters’ camps. The village receives infrastructure improvements–clean water wells, school support and medical
    supplies–all funded by hunters’ dollars. The elephant is tolerated because it has monetary value to the local population—not simply because it is a elephant . First world sensitivities are nonexistent in a third world that struggles with daily survival.
    Yeah–I’ve hunted elephant. It was truly a fairchase, exciting hunt and I shot a tremendous bull after 14 days of hard hunting. The local village received thousands of pounds of meat–nothing was wasted, 50% of the trophy fee and compensation for any crop damage was paid by the outfitter to the village.
    If you disapprove of elephant hunting—fine, that’s your prerogative. It’s legal and, although counterintuitive to dimwits, sport hunting plays a valuable role in the sustainable use and survival of this majestic animal. Before you condemn elephant hunting, do some research—better yet, talk to the native that has to coexist with this animal.

    campfir

  • Philip May 26, 2017, 8:41 pm

    Thinking some more about this and it is very heartening to see that the vast preponderance of the comments are anti-gratuitous-killing. Us gun owners seem to fall neatly into groups and it is nice to see that the trophy hunting element (or anyone that even sympathizes with that element, if these comments are anything to go by), are firmly in the minority – which is a good thing. Aside from being cowardly psychopathic narcissists, these people give gun owners a bad name so the less there are around the better. I know a lot of liberals and I do not know anyone that would object to taking out some trash that breaks into your house but I know a lot, including myself, that find trophy hunting just so barbaric and wrong. I cannot conceive of a defense for it.
    Elephants live as long as humans and are as intelligent as any non-human mammal – Can you imagine every minute of every day of your life, you never know if some asshole – who you have no idea even exists – has a scope trained on your head and you can end your life at any time for no other reason than to compensate for a penile deficiency. Some of these guys and there families should live under those conditions, where enemy snipers could be anywhere and strike at any time and see how they like it.
    Couple of other notes:
    Someone commented that trophy hunting is actually good for the animals and the environment as it brings in tourist dollars to go towards conservation – This is obviously twisted that it should need no rebuttal. a lot of tourists go to Africa and never kill anything.
    And the “Oh his poor wife and kids..” comments… Please spare me. Screw them!

    • Jon W. May 29, 2017, 12:42 am

      You’ve obviously never had the displeasure of watching an amimal starve to death caused from overgrazing and lack of food!

    • Alan May 30, 2017, 3:49 pm

      You sir, and a jackass and hypocrite, UNLESS you’re a vegan.
      IF you’re a vegan, fine. BUT if you eat ANY meat, you’re a hypocrite, and a jackass.

      • Philip May 30, 2017, 4:54 pm

        I am a vegetarian of over 30 years (no meat, poultry, fish, etc.) , thanks for asking, so I guess I am not a hypocrite in your eyes. That is a big relief to me
        However, I never claimed that hunting is wrong, I said – like the vast majority of commenters on this page – ‘trophy’ hunting is wrong.
        That is why i have a couple of Les Baer’s and no Wilson Combat weapons in my collection since the latter is a barbarian who I would not want to give my business to. I did my due diligence and could not find any record of the former trophy hunting. Hopefully no-one will correct me on this…

  • alex May 26, 2017, 5:21 pm

    for a man that was supposed to be a professional hunter,how did he just stumble into a herd of cows and calves?it’s a game preserve,don’t they have areas mapped out for these guys.i never liked this type of hunting,i you want to call it that, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

    • ricky wyatt May 27, 2017, 9:30 am

      This barrel along with even larger ones consist of minimum 5000 acres…

  • Darryl May 26, 2017, 4:17 pm

    RIP sir and wish the best for your family.

    but you know all the animal rights wacko’s are just loving this but know little of the fact that these are the people that are doing more for the wild life then that are just sitting at home doing nothing but complaining. the money made from people like him is what is used to take care of these and other animal’s in the wild. i’m sure if we could find out how some of these AR nuts have died we could also have a good laugh on them.

  • NICHOLAS Andre SMITH May 26, 2017, 3:22 pm

    Killing animals for fun or trophy hunting ive never agreed with. You don’t take animals lives unless they are killed for meat to provide food on the table especially endangered animals. Carma is a bitch

    • Frank June 26, 2017, 10:36 pm

      Karma is a bitch. One might invoke a principle of physics that for each action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. After eight years of perhaps the worst president in the history of USA, welcome Donald Trump. Without Obama, we wouldn’t have Trump. Karma

  • Philip May 26, 2017, 2:56 pm

    I have to concur with the anti-trophy hunter side. This guy (and all like him) is/was a total piece of crap.
    Such a coward. The animal has absolutely no chance. Any total novice can be handed a rifle and take out an elephant with a few minutes to familiarize themselves with how a rifle works. This requires no skill at all, all you need is a psychopathic personality devoid of any empathy and a really shallow narcissistic world view (like Trump junior).
    Good riddance. It’s a shame there are more like him.
    There are some people on here that are saying “It’s legal so what is the problem?”, losers…!

    • Cleophus May 26, 2017, 4:38 pm

      What an amazingly ignorant statement. It is glaringly obvious that you have never hunted dangerous game. It’s called “dangerous” for a reason. I would love to put you in front of a charging elephant or rhino after having had “a few minutes to familiarize yourself with how a rifle works.” There would be absolutely no question as to what would happen. You would shit your little pink panties, throw down the rifle, and run screaming like the little titty baby you are, at least until the animal catches you and mauls you to an agonizing death, (a consummation devoutly to be wished!). It takes courage to stand your ground in a desperate situation, but a simpering coward like you wouldn’t know anything about that. Idiot…….

      • Philip May 30, 2017, 12:14 pm

        Wow! I think there is a lot more going on here psychologically than a mere disagreement with me.
        Sounds like you may be one of these cowardly people that kill majestic animals to compensate for some other failing.
        Obviously, I would never be in that position since I like animals and would not kill one gratuitously.
        I have a ton of guns and have often taken newbies to the range and they can, indeed, hit a target very accurately with no more than a few minutes of ‘training’.
        Don’t worry about me, I can ‘stand my ground’ confidently against any real threat (most likely human if it ever happens), but i am highly unlikely to be in a position to get mauled by a desperate animal that I am terrorizing since I am more of a man than it sounds like you are and do not torture and kill for fun. Trophy hunters are the gun culture equivalent of child molesters – Preying on the defenseless!
        My only hope is that this bitch screamed like a girl and someone got it on video. We can only dream…

  • Aydene May 26, 2017, 1:36 pm

    Sorry mister Botha, but I have no sympathy for trophy hunters. Hunting for what you will eat is a lot different than pitting high power rifles, and dogs too, to bring down a Critter that hasn’t got a chance. Good sport old Chap, but then too so is beating up on your wife!

  • DDayDog May 26, 2017, 1:35 pm

    Boy – a lot of you guys are heartless dicks. How do you know the meat wasn’t eaten by local tribes? Regardless of what he was doing at the time, his wife and 5 kids will suffer his loss. It’s not like he was Adam fucking Lanza.

  • Larry May 26, 2017, 1:05 pm

    I’ve carried by open & concealed for 50 years now & have done my share of hunting too but I have never understood the mentality of killing for a trophy! It reminds me too much of the savage rag heads decapitating someone & then holding up their severed head by the hair like a trophy for all the other savages to see. I won’t make any further comment about this death other than to say too bad for all concerned..

  • JerryB May 26, 2017, 12:32 pm

    If you hunt big game you are taking your chances and exposing yourself to risk. Sometimes the coin toss comes up tails. That’s all I’ve got to say about that.

  • skipNclair May 26, 2017, 12:31 pm

    Great news !!!!!!

  • JJMJ May 26, 2017, 10:48 am

    One less savage killing innocent animals for fun. People get what they give in life.

  • Willard J Clinton May 26, 2017, 10:39 am

    Support for “trophy” hunting of this or any other type gives all proponents of the 2nd a bad name. I am an avid shooter, firearms owner, and supporter of the second. I have always considered hunting animals for any purpose other than to provide food to be immoral. And hunting animals with a rifle capable of a reach of hundreds of yards is never “sporting”. Supporters of our right to bear arms are far better off without this individual and people like him. Zero sympathy for him here.

  • Rick Lewis May 26, 2017, 9:55 am

    Good riddance asshole!

    • ND farmer May 26, 2017, 12:11 pm

      You are a very sad individual and a waste of time to say something like that

      • Philip May 26, 2017, 2:59 pm

        How is that? He was an asshole and good he’d dead. I don’t understand your sadness.

  • Norm Fishler May 26, 2017, 9:31 am

    A healthy elephant will consume between 1-3 TONS of foliage a DAY! I have yet to see anything as to whether the man was on a controlled hunt where they were thinning out the herd to protect the local’s crops, or if this was a trophy hunt, but either way, he was operating within the laws of the nation where he was. I’ve never been to Africa, nor do I want to go. I have no interest in killing an elephant. Notwithstanding, I think that those who mock the man, or rejoice in his demise are very sad individuals.

  • Ram6 May 26, 2017, 9:20 am

    I don’t wish he was dead. I don’t condemn him for his profession. It was legal and is unfortunately an accepted practice in those areas of the world. The story is misleading as well as it insinuates that he shot the animal and she fell on him afterwards, which is not what happened.

    What I do condemn is the practice of “Trophy Hunting”. The habitat of many of the great mammals in this world is shrinking, they are at risk in some areas and are being preservered, which is what I believe is man’s responsibility as a steward of the planet since we are the ones with the knowledge, ability, and conscience to do just that. Do I think there is “global climate change” abetted by man? Absolutely not. Do I believe hunting for “sport” is an acceptable practice? Also absolutely not. It’s sad he was killed and I don’t revel in his demise.

  • Joe May 26, 2017, 9:09 am

    Little did Botha and his crew know the elephants were also on a hunting safari. The elephant mating ritual was a cleverly designed trap to bring the human prey into striking distance for the ultimate hunting trophy…squashed hunters…

  • Junior May 26, 2017, 8:34 am

    Jajajajaja…

  • Luke May 26, 2017, 8:25 am

    I didn’t know him except what I read from open-source internet sites but . . . “Good riddance.” “Good. Glad he’s dead.” “No sympathy here.” “Repugnant.” “Karma.” “Poetic justice.” “Evil bastard.. .” Seriously? The man was a father and a husband. What he was doing was legal and had government oversight for years. . . . just as legal as when he hunted problem cats for the government to protect people and livestock earlier in his life.

    MSM pounces on stories like this to use against hunters and 2A rights. “Good riddance?” Man, for whatever warts this guy had (and, I’m sure there were a few), he must’ve done at least some good for wildlife in his career and hunting business. He screwed up like all hunters do and, this time, was unlucky. Had he not been legal over the years, at least somebody would’ve gone after him.

    You’re acting like the liberal news media and democratic party has brain-washed the common sense out of you. How would your loved ones feel if you had died like this? Would they be saying ‘good riddance, glad he’s gone?”

    • Mark M. May 26, 2017, 10:19 am

      I’m sorry, but 2A rights don’t exist outside of the USA.

      • Luke May 26, 2017, 7:17 pm

        No shit, Sherlock!@ But, when did that ever matter to the anti-gun liberal nut bars?

  • joe May 26, 2017, 8:10 am

    Find a new hobby that doesn’t involve killing animals for no purpose.

    And yes, I hunt – to eat.

    • Alan May 30, 2017, 4:30 pm

      And that meat is distributed to the locals by LAW in that Country.
      Do your research before commenting.
      And does your philosophy extend to mice and rats in your home???
      You know it doesn’t, so you’re a bit of a hypocrite, aren’t you?

  • chuck hall May 26, 2017, 7:19 am

    It is sad to see a human lose his life in such a manner. God bless him and his family. While I chose not to hunt big game, and I treasure all the innocent creatures, it just seems this kind of hunting should be stopped or extremely limited. I can’t understand this kind of mindset, that allows a person to ‘trophy hunt’ such beautiful creatures. I’m sorry he died, but I am glad his hunt is over.

  • Curt Haas May 26, 2017, 7:00 am

    Good riddance! These creatures should be left alone!

    • Eric F May 26, 2017, 11:06 am

      Best simple explanation (and some of you need it) for WHY trophy hunting is the BEST way to preserve endangered animals – most of you either are ignorant, misinformed, or simply stupid – I hope the latter isn’t true.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUA8i5S0YMU

      • Andrew N. May 26, 2017, 9:56 pm

        Amen Eric! Great post. It seems like the gun toting world has some ignorant asses to educate. No fucking clue at all what trophy hunting is about, or what is does for the animals. They also don’t seem to realize that “Dangerous Game” is just that-DANGEROUS. That’s why you have to have a PH (Professional Hunter) with you, to try to keep you alive. They hunt tiny little deer, or fairly docile (by comparison) elk and moose and think they are big, bad hunters. The only thing close to dangerous is the big Brown Bears of Alaska.

  • Jeff May 26, 2017, 5:20 am

    Good, glad he’s dead.
    Hunting elephants for what reason? I hate these people.
    I am extremely pro gun, but these hunts are very low on a human level.

  • Early Ray Bonneville May 26, 2017, 5:11 am

    I am pro gun rights but find this type of hunting repugnant. No sympathy here; poetic justice, natural karma. If you are hunting for food and there is no option then by all means kill to eat but to go into an animal’s natural habitat to trophy hunt, you have issues, and if you die in process…oh well, animal won…fair game!! No different than socially dysfunctional people who kill cats or dogs or whatever living creature. You merely like killing and call it a sport!!! Can’t wrap my mind around that. Pictures of those dead beautiful animals make me sick.

  • Richard Taylor May 25, 2017, 9:52 pm

    Fat face fat ass was flattened, pancaked, steamrolled, squished, flatlined . two days ago rhinos got 5 poachers.

  • Debra A Gannon May 24, 2017, 10:48 pm

    It’s too nad he didn’t die his first time hunting it would have saved a lot of innocent animals lives. Evil bastard got what he deserved..

    • Dilligaf May 25, 2017, 5:07 pm

      Next time, put yourself between the hunter and the prey. After clearing you from the line of sight and reload, the hunter would step over your rotting corpse and take a good, follow up shot on the prey. I’m sure your body would be left for the buzzards

      • JJMJ May 26, 2017, 10:50 am

        You should follow in his foot steps. Maybe you can end up with the same result.

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