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.
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.”
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.”
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.