African Elephant Kills Big Game Hunter Theunis Botha By Falling On Top Of Him

Published May 22, 2017
Updated January 9, 2019

Theunis Botha, a hunter known for killing leopards using hounds, died in Zimbabwe when a shot elephant fell on top of him.

Theunis Botha With Hunting Tusks

Theunis Botha Big Game SafarisTheunis Botha

When Theunis Botha’s Game Hounds Safari website offers customers “a unique exciting African safari experience” he means that they won’t only see beautiful wild animals on the African plains, but they’ll kill them, too.

That is, if the animals don’t kill them first.

The 51-year-old big game hunter died on Friday in Zimbabwe, a South African news channel reported.

Botha had been walking with some other hunters in Good Luck Farm on a “licensed 10-day hunt” when he happened upon a group of breeding elephants.

The elephants charged at the group, who opened fire.

Elephant Kills Theunis Botha

Theunis Botha Big Game Safaris

One of the elephants, attacking from the side, was undeterred. The creature lifted Botha from the ground with its trunk, prompting one of the other hunters to shoot.

The elephant collapsed — landing on top of Botha as both of them died.

Leopard Hunting

Theunis Botha Big Game Safaris

Botha wasn’t an elephant expert. His specialty was lions and leopards, which he’d hunt using hounds and either guns or arrows.

His “family operation born out of a mutual love for Africa and its natural beauty” was originally created when Botha needed money to pay for his Psychology and Anthropology degree.

The business grew to include hunting areas in Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique, and Namibia.

Their website features many photos of dead crocodiles with their mouths propped open with sticks, open-mouthed elephants collapsed in the trees, and old white guys holding slouching leopard corpses.

Dead Elephant

Theunis Botha Big Game SafarisTheunis Botha (right) on a hunt with a client.

Theunis Botha’s friend confirmed his death on his company Facebook page, but removed the post after receiving many negative comments.

Next, learn why drones may be the answer to Africa’s elephant poaching crisis. Then, read about why some elephants are no longer growing tusks.

All That's Interesting
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Savannah Cox
Savannah Cox holds a Master's in International Affairs from The New School as well as a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and now serves as an Assistant Professor at the University of Sheffield. Her work as a writer has also appeared on DNAinfo.