Richard Conniff, author of The Species Seekers, found himself, while researching that book, cataloging the strange deaths of many naturalists over the past two centuries.
He compiled them on his website. It makes for fascinating reading. Among my favorites:
Biermann, Adolph (?–1880), curator of the Calcutta Botanical Garden, survived attack by tiger while walking in garden but succumbed a year later, age unknown, to cholera.
Macklot, Heinrich (1799–1832), naturalist, was so enraged when insurgents burned down his house, with all of his collections, that he organized a revenge attack and was speared to death, age 33, in Java.
Nevermann. William Heinrich (1881-1938), entomologist, killed, age 57, while hunting ants by lantern with a colleague at night in Costa Rica. He was shot by a neighbor who thought the lights of the two lanterns were the eyes of a puma.
Ruspoli, Prince Eugenio (1866-1893), Italian explorer, gave his name to one of world’s most beautiful and rare birds, the Ethiopian endemic Prince Ruspoli’s Turaco, whose first specimen was found in the prince’s hunting bag after he was trampled to death, age 27, by an angry elephant.