Released by a safari company that targets trophy hunters, the image has sparked outrage over social media worldwide.
A shocking image that released recently has elicited outrage for the gross promotion of trophy hunting, yet again. The photo shows Canadian couple Darren and Carolyn Carter share a kiss over the body of a magnificent lion that they killed while on a safari in South Africa. According to The Daily Mail, the photo was originally shared by safari organizers Legelela Safaris, who regularly share photos of proud hunters with their kills on their Facebook page, which no longer seems to be publicly accessible.
The Daily Mail reports that the photo was captioned "Hard work in the hot Kalahari sun...well done. A monster lion." The couple reportedly killed at least two lions on their trip, and another photo shared by the safari operator shows them posing with another dead lion, captioned, “There is nothing like hunting the king of the jungle in the sands of the Kalahari. Well done to the happy huntress and the team...” According to the Mirror, the Carters are avid hunters and run a taxidermy business, but also describe themselves as "passionate conservationists".
When confronted by the Mirror about the photo, Darren Carter said, “We aren’t interested in commenting on that at all. It’s too political.” The world may have been made aware of the horrors of trophy hunting after Cecil the lion was killed, but the practice continues to thrive. But more than 1,000 lions are still killed every year, along with thousands of bears and hundreds of elephants, rhinos and crocodiles, according to the Mirror. Legelela Safaris is one of a number of companies that offers hunting safaris in South Africa - at a price of $3,000 to hunt a giraffe, and $2,500 for a zebra. They also offer lion, leopard, and elephant hunts upon request.
Eduardo Goncalves, the founder of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting, said that he believes the lions in question were captive and bred for the sole purpose of being killed by hunters - bred on a lion farm, and then released into an enclosure to be shot. “There is nothing romantic about killing an innocent animal," he told the Mirror. "It looks as though this lion was a tame animal killed in an enclosure, bred for the sole purpose of being the subject of a smug selfie. This couple should be utterly ashamed of themselves, not showing off and snogging for the cameras.”
Linda Park, boss of Voice 4 Lions in South Africa, also agreed that the white lion pictured was “definitely captive” and she “strongly suspects” the second darker one was as well. The photo has also sparked considerable outrage on social media, and has been released just as British Environment Secretary Michael Gove announced that he wants to ban imports of hunting trophies into the country.