Karma has really been a bitch to trophy hunters in Zimbabwe over the past couple of months. Early last month Scott Van Zyl, the owner of a South African trophy hunting operation, was eaten by the crocodiles he’d intended to kill.
On May 19, his friend Theunis Botha, the owner of another South African trophy-hunting company, was killed by an elephant at the Good Luck Farm, a canned hunting ranch near Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park.
The group Botha was leading on a hunting safari unwittingly wandered into a breeding herd of elephants, the Telegraph reports.
When three elephant cows charged the hunters, Botha tried to shoot them. To stop him, a fourth elephant cow charged him from the side and lifted Botha with her trunk. One of the other trophy hunters fatally shot that elephant. She dropped Botha and collapsed on top of him, killing him.
Rest in peace, poor elephant.
Theunis Botha Big Game Safaris has been in business since the early 1980s. In 1991, Botha opened his first hunting ranch with his wife. At the time of his death, he owned private hunting ranches in Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique and Namibia.
“A passionate and professional hunting outfitter operation focused on giving his clients a unique exiting [sic] African safari experience,” says the Theunis Botha Big Game Safaris and Hounds website.
“Passionate?” Botha was famous among other trophy hunters for “Monteria hunts,” which are especially despicable. This cowardly method of “hunting” – which involves no actual hunting whatsoever — puts dogs in danger by using them as bait to chase animals toward the losers lying in wait to shoot them.
In Europe, Monteria hunts traditionally involve deer and boar. Botha, however, gained his fame using this egregious method to kill lions and leopards.
Just like his buddy Van Zyl, Botha posted disturbing and graphic videos on YouTube of these kills. One video you really don’t want to watch shows hunters shooting elephants, crocodiles and other creatures and then, with big ol’ smiles on their faces, standing beside their kills. Botha is seen holding up huge elephant tusks and grinning beside a dead elephant.
While elephants apparently weren’t worth much more than their tusks to Botha, unlike him and his clients, these magnificent creatures have the capability to be compassionate.
“Research on elephants is full of examples of the animals apparently behaving empathetically — recognizing and responding to another elephant’s pain or problem,” notes National Geographic. “Often, they even make heroic efforts to assist one another.”
That’s exactly what that elephant cow was doing when she was killed trying to saving the lives of others in her herd. At least her death wasn’t completely in vain. She permanently saved her herd and other wildlife from someone who profited and took pleasure fromkilling innocent animals.
It’s highly unlikely, but wouldn’t it be great if, spooked by the deaths of Van Zyl and Botha, other trophy hunters decide not to take any chances and take up a humane hobby instead? Karma can actually be a very beautiful thing.
This article was first published by Care2.com on 25 May 2017.