An Elephant Hunter Was Trampled to Death by the Elephant He Was Hunting


Ian Gibson, an employee of Safari Classics Productions, died Wednesday after an African bull elephant trampled him in Zimbabwe's Chewore North, in the lower Zambezi Valley.

Gibson, a professional big game hunter, had been stalking the elephant for five hours with his client. According to a statement published online by the company, Gibson was tailing the elephant to get a better look at its ivory when it broke into "full charge." 

Gibson's tracker, who had accompanied him, managed to fire one shot at the elephant before the fatal encounter. 

"The scene was very graphic," the description concluded. 

The statement suggested the animal had been in musth, a period of hormonal changes in male elephants where testosterone levels can be 40 to 60 times more elevated than during non-musth periods. During musth, elephants are known to be especially prone to aggression and attack.

Safari Classic owner Dave Fulson declined to respond to Mic's request for comment.

The background: Big game hunting in Africa is not only legal, it can be done relatively cheaply. A look at Chifuti Safaris, a partner site "exclusively represented" by Safari Classics, shows the cheapest packages are $750 a day. Children under 10 can participate at no extra charge.

Far from just elephants, the company also offers packages targeting elephants, crocodiles, leopards, waterbucks, hippopotami and many others.

For a taste of what a hunt might be like, the website posted this video.

Chifuti claims hunting has long been misunderstood and misrepresented by activists. In Zimbabwe, for example, where Gibson was killed, there are nearly 100,000 African elephants, which the company claims is far in excess of what the environment can support. 

However the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources Red List lists the African elephant as "vulnerable," just one step up from "endangered." Central Africa has lost 64% of its elephants in the last 10 years.

Between 2010 and 2012 100,000 African elephants were killed by hunters. This time, though, the elephant got the last laugh. 

h/t the Huffington Post