A South African hunter is thought to have been eaten by crocodiles after he mysteriously disappeared from his safari hunt last week.
Scott van Zyl, 44, had gone on a hunt with his dogs on the banks of the Limpopo River in Zimbabwe when he vanished last Friday, The Telegraph reported on Tuesday.
The man, who owns a professional hunting company, and his tracker left their pickup truck, ventured into the bushes in different directions. Later that day, the dogs he was hunting with returned without him. His rifle and personal items were left inside his pickup truck.
Cue a huge manhunt spearheaded by a team of divers, helicopters and trackers who scoured the area searching for his tracks. The footprints eventually lead them to the river bank where trackers found his backpack.
A member of the search team told the Telegraph that park authorities decided to shoot two suspected Nile crocodiles and “found what could possibly be human remains in them.”
The remains are now being tested by forensic experts to check whether they belong to Scott van Zyl.
Crocodile attacks are common occurrences near rivers and in coastal zones: at least four people were killed by crocodiles in Zimbabwe in the past month after heavy rains pushed the reptiles into land habitats.
Last summer, a two-year-old toddler was snatched by an alligator—crocodile’s distant cousin—just off the beach at Disney World’s Seven Seas Lagoon. The child was wading along the lagoon’s edge when the animal dragged him into the water. His father then tried to wrestle his toddler from the jaws of the animal, in vain.
Crocodiles’ and alligators’ primary diet consists of fish, turtles, birds, small mammals and amphibians and the predators are typically wary of humans. But in exceptional circumstances, say if food is rare, they will feed off what is readily available to them, including pets, livestock and occasionally—people.