A young bull elephant killed professional hunter Ian Gibson early on Wednesday as he tracked a lion for an American client in a rugged part of northeastern Zimbabwe.
Gibson, 55, one of Zimbabwe’s best-known big-game hunters, died scouting
for prey in the Zambezi Valley after a young bull elephant charged, then knelt on him and crushed him.
“We don’t yet know the full details of how ‘Gibbo’, as we called him, died, as the American client and the trackers are still too traumatised to give us full details,” said Paul Smith, MD of Chifuti Safaris, which employed Gibson for the hunt.
The American hunter was on his first trip to Zimbabwe . Gibson was scouting for lions when he encountered the elephant.
Gibson’s trackers said the young bull had been in musth , which means it was producing more testosterone than usual.
“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 .
“He was so experienced and this is a most unexpected tragedy.”
Gibson was accompanying his client in an area known as Chiwore North in the southern part of the Zambezi Valley, which Smith said was overpopulated with elephants.
Gibson began his wildlife career in Zimbabwe’s department of national parks, but left to become a hunter about 25 years ago.
He was well known in the US; the Dallas Safari Club is paying his funeral expenses. Gibson lived in Marondera, a small town about 70km southeast of Harare. A son who works in Tanzania and two grown daughters in Harare survive him.