Scott Van Zyl made his living taking wealthy clients on “safaris” for the sole purpose of bringing home trophies like leopards, zebras, wildebeests and even lions. Now, investigators in Zimbabwe believe that Van Zyl ended up on the wrong end of the predator-prey relationship, and DNA tests have confirmed that he was attacked, killed, and eaten by crocodiles while on a hunting trip.
Van Zyl, who ran SS Pro Safaris, offered specials for hunters to spend a week or more on his hunting lands which border nature preserves, with the promise of killing up to seven different species for $9,000. He also offered other hunting expeditions with targets like elephants and giraffes, though specifics for those, including prices, aren’t listed on the company’s site. Photos of clients holding the bodies of several rare species are posted on Van Zyl’s site, along with the motto “Stop whining, go hunting.”
The circumstances surrounding his death are spotty, but reports suggest that Van Zyl and a second hunter and a pack of dogs. The two men split up, choosing to travel on foot alone, but when the dogs returned to the base camp without Van Zyl, his companion knew something was wrong.
His footprints were tracked to a riverbank where searchers found his backpack as well as several large Nile crocodiles. Authorities killed the crocs after getting clearance to do so and subsequently discovered human remains inside the stomach of one of them. Tests of the remains matched Van Zyl. The incident is just one of a handful of fatal crocodile attacks tallied so far in 2017 alone.