- Ian Gibson, 55, was hunting in Zimbabwe for an American client
- He was taking a rest when he spotted the bull elephant in the Zambezi Valley
- Approached it to measure ivory, fired one shot then was crushed to death
- Funeral to be paid for by Dallas Safari Club, where he was a popular figure
A celebrated Texas-born hunter was crushed to death by a baby elephant in Zimbabwe as he tried to measure its ivory tusks for an American client.
Ian Gibson, 55, was a lauded figure among U.S. safari enthusiasts, who would commission him to slaughter prized animals near his home in South Africa.
On Wednesday, he was tentatively approaching the young bull elephant in Zimbabwe’s Zambezi Valley when the animal charged, and knelt on Gibson until he died.
Crushed to death: Ian Gibson, 55, was killed by a young bull elephant while measuring its ivory for a U.S. client
His American client, who was also present, has not been identified. The Dallas Safari Club is paying for Gibson’s funeral.
Despite only having one leg, Gibson was described by fans as ‘fit and strong’.
According to a statement from Safari Classics, posted on AfricaHunting.com, the group had stopped for a rest when the animal approached their group.
Gibson and his tracker approached to assess its ivory.
‘At very close range, Ian was able to get off one shot before the bull killed him. The scene was very graphic,’ the statement read.
Twitter users were widely pitiless, with hundreds of animal rights supporters commenting that he ‘got what he deserved’.
Lauded figure: Gibson, who lived in South Africa, was a popular figure in the U.S. safari enthusiast community
Backlash: Twitter users have been widely unsympathetic to Gibson’s death in Zimbabwe on Wednesday
Tributes posted on the hunting forum slammed unsympathetic reactions to Gibson’s death, describing the big game hunter as a ‘magnificent wildlife photographer and conservationist.’
According to friends, he fired one shot at the young bull elephant, who was going through ‘musth’ – a period of high testosterone.
The animal then charged.
Gibson’s trackers wrote on AfricaHunting.com: ‘We know ‘Gibbo’ shot it once, from about 10 yards away, with a 458 [rifle].
‘He would never have fired unless he had no alternative. He was a hunter, yes, but he was also a magnificent wildlife photographer and conservationist.
Prized: Ivory tusks are some of the most prized treasures hunters can get, enraging animal rights supporters
‘He was so experienced and this is a most unexpected tragedy.’
The news has come a month after a study was released warning that ivory hunting is continuing to diminish the elephant population in Africa.
A report by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, which is known as CITES and regulates wildlife trade, said poaching rates of elephants in areas that are being monitored still exceed their natural birth rates.
Conservationists say tens of thousands of elephants have been killed in Africa in recent years as demand for ivory in Asia, particularly China, increases. Past estimates of Africa’s elephant population have ranged from 420,000 to 650,000.
Prince William is one of the world’s most prominent voices in defense of elephants against ivory hunters.