A British working as a professional hunter on a private game reserve in Zimbabwe has been killed by a wounded buffalo he was trying to shoot.
Owain Lewis (67) had been tracking the animal for three days to finish it off after it was shot and injured by a visiting American hunter he was escorting.
Paul Smith, the owner of Chifuti Safaris in the lower Zambezi Valley, said Lewis was “very tough and experienced”, but had been caught unawares when the buffalo charged from the undergrowth and tossed him in the air.
“It turned on him and attacked him and unfortunately the apprentice hunter with him could not shoot the animal as Owen’s body was in the way,” he said.
“It was a very tough fight. Owain’s neck was broken but the apprentice did manage to kill the buffalo.
“We are very shocked. This is the first time we have had an incident like this.
“We have had so many messages of support from people who hunted with Owen.
“It is a tragedy.”
One of the people who hunted with Lewis, Alan Bunn, posted on a message board that he was “a man who had probably forgotten more about Africa and hunting than any of the younger professional hunters will ever learn.
“He was a kind soul who worked hard and always carried with him the very best of attitudes,” he wrote.
Lewis is understood to have adult children, who were travelling to Zimbabwe from their homes in the United States and New Zealand for a funeral on Friday.
He previously ran his own ranch in the Chegutu but it was seized by Zanu PF supporters in 2001.
The Cape Buffalo is one of African safaris’ prized Big Five and one of the most dangerous animals in the world, also known as “The Widow-maker”.
It can grow up to 1,7 metres in height and 3,4 metres in length, and weigh as much as 910kg.