Sigh. Will people ever learn? Just recently, Theunis Botha, a South African big game hunter, was crushed to death by an elephant at a Zimbabwe game reserve. Botha was leading a hunt when his group came across a herd of elephants. Three of the elephants stampeded towards the hunters, with Botha opening fire. A fourth elephant then stormed in from the side, lifting Botha up with her truck. A member of Botha’s group shot the elephant and then the elephant collapsed on Botha, crushing him.
For a story like this, you’d think we take an almost celebratory stance that a hunter faced karma, but honestly, we just can’t believe preventable incidents like this are still happening.
Let’s be honest, Botha shouldn’t have been hunting in the first place. Animals in the wild … are wild! They are living, thinking beings with instincts for survival. We have to ask ourselves if the “thrill of the hunt” is really worth risking your own life – while deliberately taking others.
A spokesman for the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority, Simukai Nyasha, said the incident happened on Friday at the Good Luck Farm near Hwange National Park. Botha is said to have frequently led lion and leopard hunting safaris with his pack of dogs in southern African countries and also traveled regularly to the United States to find wealthy customers to join him in trophy hunting. Botha was also close friends with Scott van Zyl, who recently died after reportedly being eaten by crocodiles on a hunting trip.
We don’t celebrate anyone’s death (human or animal) and see the entire situation as utterly senseless. African elephants are being hunted to extinction, along with rhinos, for their tusks and horns. Big cats are creeping closer to extinction from the wild while they are mercilessly hunted to become stuffed trophies or rugs. While bans on ivory and endangered species protections are popping up in more and more countries every day, the fact remains that poaching and big game hunting contribute to extinction and if we don’t take action now, we stand to lose some of the most iconic animals on the planet. In fact, we could lose the African elephant entirely by 2030. That’s less than two decades away.
Here’s a novel concept that can keep this situation from happening in the future. Let’s leave the wildlife alone. Instead of going to shoot big game, why not take a trip to simply appreciate the animals in their natural state? You can also support organizations like the World Animal Protection and the World Wildlife Fund who are working towards conservation – without killing.
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