Monday, April 24, 2017

Here's a Croc of a Story: Nile Crocs Eat White Hunter in Zimbabwe

Scott van Zyl disappeared last week on a hunting safari in Zimbabwe. The South African hunter was accompanied by a Zimbabwe tracker and a pack of dogs. They left their pickup track and went in opposite directions. The dogs returned hours later without van Zyl. The tracker tracked van Zyl’s tracks to the bank of the Limpopo River. He found a backpack and several large, well-fed Nile crocodiles. The 44 year old van Zyl operated a hunting safari company, SS Pro Safaris, specializing in exotic trophy kills. He marketed the company to wealthy trophy hunters. $9,000 would get you a safari to hunt seven species. His web site mentioned lions, leopards, rhinos, antelopes, buffalos, wildebeests, and zebras. It also alluded to elephants and giraffes. The company’s slogan is/was “Stop whining; Go hunting.” Nile crocodiles are a perfect killing machine. They harken back to the age of the dinosaurs with little evolution. They eat anything they can catch, hundreds of humans a year, 4 in Zimbabwe in March alone. Van Zyl forgot the maxim: “Don’t go near the water.” Zimbabwe investigators got permission to shoot the well-fed crocodiles. Van Zyl’s remains and DNA were found in the bellies of two of the crocs, a veritable croc corpus delicti. We have the making of a National Geographic or Discovery Channel Special: “Hungry Crocs Eat Hunter: The Predator Becomes the Prey.” Alas, at least three crocodiles were killed in the CSI search for van Zyl. Alas, no live coverage exists of the fabled, crocodile roll of van Zyl as they ripped his body apart. No problem; they can simulate it! The pain on van Zyl’s face as he realized he was the victim of poetic justice would have been a priceless photo, worthy of an award. The hungry crocs would be the stars of the special. Today’s graphics allow a celebratory army of antelopes, buffalo, elephants, giraffes, leopards, lions, rhinos, wildebeest, and zebras, cheering on the crocs in the demise of the trophy hunter. They could give points on the quality and style of the kill: a perfect 10 points for a quick roll with little splash.

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