A BIG game hunter is understood to have been taken by surprise by an elephant that charged at him from the side.
A BIG game hunter has been crushed to death by an elephant that collapsed on him after it was fatally shot.
Theunis Botha, 51, was leading a hunt in a game reserve in Zimbabwe when four breeding elephants charged at his group.
A female elephant picked up the South African dad-of-five in her trunk, but fell on top of him after she was shot by another hunter, officials said.
Mr Botha, described as a “passionate and professional hunting pioneer”, was crushed to death by the weight of the wounded animal on Friday.
News24 reported that the big game hunter had accidentally led clients into the middle of a breeding herd of elephants near Hwange National Park.
Three of the elephants charged at the group of hunters at the Good Luck Farm, The Daily Telegraph reported.
But Mr Botha is understood to have been taken by surprise by a fourth elephant that charged at him from the side.
One of his hunting companions shot at the elephant after it lifted Mr Botha from the ground.
Zimparks acting spokesman Simukai Nyasha said Mr Botha “unknowingly got in the middle of a breeding herd of elephants with several calves and was trampled to death”.
Friends have paid tribute to the dad-of-five on social media.
One wrote: “RIP Theunis Botha. Our heartfelt condolences to Carike and family. He was a great man! So sad!”
Another friend added: “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.”
Twitter users who oppose hunting were less kind.
KARMA!!…. Theunis Botha big game hunter crushed to death by elephant he killed | Metro News https://t.co/ClLPo96mnI
— Margaret Joyce ??? (@MargaretM_Joyce) May 21, 2017
The professional hunter ran his own safari company — Game and Hounds Safari.
His website claims he “perfected leopard and lion hunting safaris with hounds in Africa”.