In a week that saw increased scrutiny against trophy hunting, a young bull elephant has trampled a well known big-game hunter in Zimbabwe who was tracking a lion. 

Ian Gibson, 55, was one of Zimbabwe’s best known big-game trackers when a nearby elephant reportedly charged him. Despite taking gunshots to the body, the elephant kneeled down and crushed him, according to The Telegraph. 

The American hunter Gibson was guiding had already bagged a leopard on the trip when they began tracking the lion. Trackers working with Gibson told reporters they believed the elephant may have been in a period of increased testosterone, which may have explained its aggression. The animal’s tusks were apparently too small to be desired for ivory and the area they were travelling in the southern part of the Zambezi Valley is reportedly overpopulated with elephants.

“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,” Paul Smith, managing director of Chifuti Safaris’ which employed Mr Gibson for the hunt, told The Telegraph. “He was so experienced and this is a most unexpected tragedy.”

All this comes on a week that saw an Internet spat get even more heated between Ricky Gervais and big game trophy hunter Rebecca Francis. Gervais had posted a provocative rhetorical question about the huntress on social media, which reportedly sparked personal threats against Francis.

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