Trophy hunter who targeted elephants and lions gets eaten by crocodiles

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All animal lovers are opposed to trophy hunting. It can be hard to believe that there are people who enjoy killing at-risk animals like lions and rhinos.

This “sport” has pushed many species to the brink of extinction, but despite controversy and pushback from conservation groups this kind of hunting remains legal in many places.

But sometimes the animal kingdom has its own sense of justice… and one hunter came to a demise that could be described as “karma.”

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Scott Van Zyl was a prolific trophy hunter from South Africa. In addition to being a hunter himself, Van Zyl operated a “safari” company where he would take clients on big game hunts as well.

His targets included lions, cheetahs, giraffes and elephants.

In 2017, Van Zyl headed out on one of his hunting trip in Zimbabwe… only this time, he didn’t return.

According to the BBC, the hunter headed out with a pack of dogs and a local tracker. He went off on his own in search of crocodiles, and was believed to be missing when his tracker dogs returned without him.

They found his footprints and bag near the river bank. Local authorities investigated the crocodiles… and found human remains that a DNA test confirmed belonged to Van Zyl.

After the story broke, many people wrote that he had it coming: that it was karma for killing so many animals.

One Green Planet, while not celebrating the hunter’s death, said the case is just more proof of why we shouldn’t allow trophy hunting: it puts the hunters’ lives at needless risk.

“Let’s be honest, Zyl shouldn’t have been hunting in the first place,” they wrote. “We have to ask ourselves if the ‘thrill of the hunt’ is really worth risking your own life – while deliberately taking others.”

What do you think of this story? Did this hunter deserve what happened to him? Share this story with your thoughts!

55 COMMENTS

  1. Hunting of lions leaves cubs at risks from takeover by other males. Stronger males targeted weakens the gene pool. Males mainly targetted. Leopard mothers often start afresh after new males replace hunted ones. They must hunt while moving/protecting young from new males, very difficult to raise new generation of leopards under such conditions. Rhino’s let’s rather leave that for special debate. Even vets have failed them, with some colluding with Vietnamese/Chinese muti hunters.

  2. Idiots that speak with out against hunting in Africa need to get a clue the only reason there is habitat and animals left on that content is because of hunters. In all actuality very little comes from outside groups such as these woke idiots on the internet. I’ve gone I’ve done the hunts I’ve watched the countless people I’ve fed with my harvested animals and just so you know . Most HONEST guides and hunters don’t just shoot LIONS MORON we look for the oldest of the old lions ones who have already or are about to be cast out of there prides. Never have i ever seen some one just shoot with out purposes to which you speak. Rhinos would not still be on this planet if it weren’t for hunters. You have hunters and poachers mixed up

    • Ahh it’s so nice that these guys that hunt are so caring about the environment, hey man do you really think people who are opposed to hunting are as dumb as you🤣. Don’t give us that nonsense that these sadistic, egotistical jumped up trophy Hunters kill animals for the benefit of the natural world🤦‍♂️. They usually do it to make up for their own inadequacies , to make themselves feel big and to try to impress others. Wow, aren’t you a big brave guy I didn’t realise you were single handedly saving the planet🤣

    • Dr Mark Jones, Born Free’s Head of Policy, says: “Claims by trophy hunters that they are primarily concerned about wildlife conservation or animal management are highly misleading. Trophy hunters don’t target problem or surplus animals; instead they covet those animals with the most impressive traits – the largest tusks, or the darkest manes. By doing so they remove key individuals, severely disrupting animal families and populations. They also cause immense animal suffering. Trophy hunting is not a conservation or animal management tool, nor does it contribute significant funds to conservation programmes or local communities; it is a cruel relic from colonial times that should be consigned to history where it belongs.”

    • How about you shut your stupid mouth. You don’t kill animals. Fulls stop. Don’t care how old they are. Let’s shoot you in the head because your past your best and see how you feel about it u bell end.

    • Perhaps you’ll be eaten next 🙏 There is absolutely no justification for what you do except obviously in your own mind to help you sleep better at night!

    • Just a quick tip… check your spelling and punctuation before you accuse compassionate animal lovers of being ‘idiots’ and ‘morons’. Based on your lack of either, (and your bs argument), it appears that you, in fact, are the idiot/ moron.

    • I’ve heard all your rhetoric before, how you saved the animals and fed the poor! If you really want to help the animals try hunting a few of the poachers!

    • Your comment is nothing but nonsense concern trolling which asks us to accept the status quo – which is destroying the earth. The solution is actually that humans everywhere adopt a plant based diet and then we can return vast areas of the earth to nature and easily feed every human on the healthiest foods.

    • Ryan, That sounds like a load of shit to be honest. Really so you hunters are doing them a favour! 🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬. If you have hunted like the other arsehole you deserve the same ending.

    • Your response infuriates me. Just because you haven’t seen something happen doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Have you heard about the silverbacked gorillas? What about the North African white rhino (only two left in the world). All nearly extinct because of poachers and trophy hunting. This article is about a man who made a living hunting and helping others to hunt “AT RISK” animals. Not sick animals, not old animals, not overpopulated animals. And he certainly wasn’t killing them for food. In my book, he was a poacher (not to be confused with a hunter).

    • As a lifelong conservationist, I am so tired of reading the ridiculous claim that “hunters feed starving people.” If you actually care about starving people, donate the money you paid to kill creatures fighting for survival as a species directly to those who can feed the starving people.

      You know you won’t just donate the money directly to that cause. You’re just looking for justification to needlessly kill. It is as simple as that.

    • Bull shit ,then change it to conserving and not a Avenue for continued killing – its wrong Thats an old worn out argument.
      Someone who kills for sport is really saying I cant stand your freedom and im taking it away forever.

    • Did he get what he had coming? It depends. I won’t shed a tear for his death. Pretty cool death too. “Hey, how did your uncle die again?”

      “He was first drowned in the bottom of a shallow lake,and then was swallowed up by crocodiles.” Pretty cool story to tell.

  3. I don’t feel sorry for the guy….animals have the right to hunt humans, use humans for sport play, and they have the right to eat humans.

  4. I don’t condone trophy hunting per se but there are instances where populations of large animals need to be managed, both for their own good/survival and to ease pressure on land and people within their environment. If management or culling is to take place, it makes sense to charge trophy hunters a premium for the privilege. It brings much needed money into the local economies. Also the carbon footprint of hunters is many times less and the income they generate, far greater than that of the scores of safari photographers, there to shoot the animals with their cameras.

    • Perhaps if everyone went plant based and we could consequently return huge parts of the world to nature, nature could then take its course and manage animal populations in the elegant fashion which it has always done very nicely without the help of “hunters”.

    • I have heard about the very expensive price to participate in legal big game hunts that are sanctioned by government and wildlife agencies. I don’t like it but I understand it. But this guy doesn’t sound like he was operating sanctioned legal hunts. It sounds like he was considered to be a poacher by law abiding hunters. If that’s the case, then I guess karma caught up with him.

  5. This article is a load of emotionally-charged rubbish and shows an astounding lack of understanding of the symbiotic relationship between trophy hunting, conservation and the wellbeing and sustenance of local communities in hunting concessions, as well as a total lack of research into freely available studies on the subject!

    I am not a trophy hunter and really don’t see the appeal in this pastime, however, as a meat hunter and conservationist in South Africa I can assure you that the exponential growth in declared conservation areas (most privately or community owned) which have doubled in extent in the last 25 years; research into avian and animal diseases in wildlife species and the relocation and preservation of endangered species has been financially supported and driven almost exclusively by the hunting community and industry. This is well established and documented and the indisputable studies are available.

    The trophy hunting industry is one of the largest funders of feeding programmes and the establishment of schools and clinics in communities adjacent to hunting concessions.

    These efforts have made a marked impact on the reduction of poaching of endangered wildlife in these areas (reference the ban on trophy hunting in Botswana and the subsequent decimation of wildlife in that country, including the wholesale slaughter of elephant herds by local poachers. This was only reversed when trophy hunting was once again permitted).

    I knew well and shared speaking platforms with the late Dr. Ian Player, the man responsible for bringing back both the White and Black Rhino populations in Southern Africa from the brink of extinction. He was an avid supporter of trophy hunting of lion, rhino and elephant that had passed their prime, were no longer capable of contributing to the free ranging gene pool and that would die naturally within a year or two. This way millions of dollars are directed back into the coffers of the National Parks and into conservation programmes.

    The article, further fails to recognise that thousands of members or poor, remote rural communities are killed by lions, leopards, crocodiles, buffalo, hippo and elephant every year, not just rare incidents of professional hunters suffering the same fate. Is that karma too?

    • if it wasn’t for trophy hunting these animals would not be on brink of extinction. Full stop. Trophy hunters are only concerned with killing and not preserving. Your comments are saying that these blood thirsty knuckle draggers actually care about animals when we all know this is not the case.

    • This is just more concern trolling. The answer to conservation is that human beings adopt a plant-based diet and return large areas of the earth to nature . . . nature which balances itself quite well without the “help” of hunters. If humans are taken by other species in remote communities one might then realise that we are part of nature too, not an apex predator at all (being obligate herbivores). When we stray into a predator’s realm, we might become prey. That’s got everything to do with nature and nothing to do with “karma”.

  6. To put the record straight, Scotty van Zyl was murdered and his body thrown in the river where his body was scavenged by crocodiles.

    He was NOT killed by a crocodile!

    • Source? I was curious, so i Googled prob 5 sources that stated that the crocs got him. No one of them mentioned anything about foul play.

    • Thanks for the info. I don’t necessarily agree with all that you said in your first post. I would point out that the article didn’t say he was conducting legally sanctioned trophy hunting – it said he was conducting trophy hunting safaris on his own of “at risk” (meaning close to endangered) animals. That is not the same thing. But I thank you for clarifying how he was actually killed. I hate when the media spins a story just to get people stirred up. Like politics, hunting is always a volatile subject and both sides feel very strongly about it.

  7. You should get your facts right. Scott was a good friend of mine. You’re only telling half the story to get attention

  8. Yes he got what he deserved. The ego at its worse. Killing for personal gain either for money or ego is a crime against our planet and the individual animal. I’m happy for all the animals that crocodile saved. I hope the crocodile didn’t get indigestion.

  9. It’s an emotive subject.. And once looked at with a clear eye it makes some sense.. To cull the old and aged who have passed their prime makes sense.. It makes way for the new generation to do its bit,, it brings in money for the poorer farmers, who can then sustain their farms and churn out food, population control is needed . As to let it go uncontrolled would cause damage to the areas they live in… But to kill for pleasure, and to kill nubile, strong animals is not on… Poaching, and hunting are different. Poachers don’t care for the animal they kill, they just see money.. They do t care if the method they use to kill. Its can be horrendous and the animal suffers for hours, or mothers killed in front of their cubs,,, hunting is quick and clean, and targeted, we kill cows, sheep, pigs, chickens, etc on a daily basis, to eat, fueling a massive industry.. I know that these animals are not going extinct.. But sometimes logic over emotion is needed…

  10. More fake news. There is so much bull shit in this article. All of you that think he deserved to die take a very deep breath. While hunting today might trouble you, what should trouble you more is that you have swallowed a fabrication that causes your emotion to seek much worse. I knew this man through a close friend. I donated to his search and rescue. After reading this story I can tell you it is 100% fabrication to hit your emotional hot button.
    This is a sad commentary for Scott’s family to deal with. Worse though is this just another example of journalism being used to sell print.

    • So exactly which part(s) are fabricated? Was he a big game hunter? Did he go crocodile hunting? Tell us the facts please.

      Humans seem to forget that once they leave the safety of their society and venture out into the jungle or ocean, they are no longer the apex predator they think they are.

    • So now we have your word against the word of the media. I don’t know you but I do know the media and I tend to believe you. So I apologize for being quick to believe the story. If this man was all that you say and only conducted legal sanctioned hunts, then I am sorry for jumping to the wrong conclusion and I apologize to his family as well and am sorry for their loss.

  11. Those villages in the surrounding areas benefit from big game hunting, they probably pay handsomely and the meat is shared with the villagers.

  12. Libtards need to get the facts straight about hunting. These animals kill for there good also! This is part of the circle of life . Hunters are the biggest donors of wildlife a habitat preservation.

  13. I wouldn’t wish no one death , I agree with hunting to feed you your family and neighbors but just killing animals for sports is wrong but I still wouldn’t wish him death , Let God judge him. Don’t become one form of evil over other evil you perceive and I can’t say what he did as i was not there to witness his actions so i won’t judge him . remember your thoughts will be judged too.

  14. Im sorry, i know i shouldnt have write this. and it must be horrible for his family but…i hope that croc take it time while killing him. I wish he realize how much pain and suffer he had cost to all animal he hunt, animal which isnt’ even use for food to sustain his life but juft pure game.

  15. Reading these comments shows the true hate in your hearts. Your hate for him is worse than his actions. If he’s in hell, he’ll have plenty of you there with him.

  16. No one DESERVES this fate. He left a wife & children…..
    However, I am a believer in “He who lives by the sword shall die by the sword” and his chosen occupation was, for me, VERY problematic. He knew the risks and clearly wasn’t so good at his job.

    Why can’t people ‘hunt’ using a camera or paint bullets? Why get pleasure in killing?
    I see the reasoning if you eat what you kill, but killing just for a trophy????

  17. My condolences to his loved ones, however, I for one am appalled that trophy hunting is allowed and I guess the croc has a new trophy.

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