Search Called Off for South African Hunter in Zimbabwe

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The search for a missing South African professional hunter (PH) in Zimbabwe has been called off, following the discovery of what could be human remains in a crocodile.

Scott van Zyl. Source: FB

Limpopo Hunters Liaison Forum (LHLF) Chairman Phillip Bronkhorst, said on Friday 14 April 2017: “Today exactly a week ago fellow PH, friend and family man Scott van Zyl went missing on the banks of the Limpopo River. The search and rescue team has done everything humanly possible to find Scott.

“Lots of help and support was given by several organisations and individuals…

“Since yesterday when POSSIBLE human remains was found, more searching was done today in the area. By around midday today general consensus was reached by the SAR team that they had done what was possible to find info on this puzzle and to find Scott.

“The SAR was called off for the moment BUT contact will be kept with locals, villagers and fisherman on both sides of the river to get more possible info from the locals on the ground.

“A formal police investigation has been launched and each and everyone hope for a closure on this incident.

“Please keep Sure, their 2 kids and all the family in your daily prayers and thoughts.”

DNA testing will be done on some of the content discovered in the stomachs of two crocodiles which were shot, to verify if the remains are human or not. Results are expected within a fortnight.

A GoFundMe page had been set up to support the search and rescue team’s costs in looking for Scott, owner of SS Pro Safaris, who was based in Marken, Limpopo. Donations have surpassed the $30K goal, and all extra funds generated will now be allocated to his family to cover any other immediate costs.

There have been insensitive remarks shared on social media and on news sites regarding 44-year-old Scott’s profession and the fact that he once hunted crocodiles which appear to have now caused his death. The father of two was allegedly on a leopard hunt at the time he went missing, according to another hunting safari company.

Scott, his dogs, and a tracker from Chikwaraka camp in Zimbabwe had set off on the hunting safari last Friday. It appeared that they left the bakkie and walked into the bush, before splitting up. The dogs returned to camp without Van Zyl. His rifle and some personal belongings were found in the bakkie, and his backpack was left alongside the Limpopo River.

Bronkhorst said until the DNA results are received “uncertainty will remain and hope will prevail”.