A husband and wife from Alberta are facing fierce backlash for a photo of them kissing over the carcass of a lion they had apparently shot on safari in Africa.
The image of Darren and Carolyn Carter was initially posted to the Facebook page of a South African company, Legelela Safaris. The couple operate Solitude Taxidermy under the slogan “bring your trophy back to life”.
The photo was later republished by the Daily Mirror in the U.K. as part of its call to ban trophy hunting and began circulating widely on social media soon after.
Under the photo of the couple, with their lips locking as they sit behind the body of an enormous lion, the tour company wrote: “Hard work in the hot Kalahari sun … well done. A monster lion.”
However, the picture has sparked outrage on social media.
I am thoroughly disgusted and appalled at these people. This is all for sport and it is absolutely disgusting. This has to stop now!— Oilergirl (@Sherwoodparkuke) July 14, 2019
Narcisstic, irresponsible, without any sense - just terrible and despicable.— Steffen Lebentrau (@SLebentrau) July 15, 2019
The company has since deleted the photo along with its Facebook page. Online, the couple describe themselves as avid hunters and tweeted last month that they were on a safari in South Africa.
After seeing the photo online, others questioned why hunting is called a sport at all.
I don’t know why they call it sport that’s the first mistake. If it were real sport then the hunters have to have no weapons just like the hunted. Bare hand fight. Now that’s a sport and let’s see who wins.— Pierre Zgheib (@PierreZgheib) July 15, 2019
I think that this is so ridiculous. how is this a sport? We as humans are killing the most beautiful animal in the world. Stop this please!— Gary Carvalho (@79gfc) July 14, 2019
The Mirror spoke briefly with Carter about why they are kissing before its piece was published, quoting him saying: “We aren’t interested in commenting on that at all. It’s too political.”
Eduardo Goncalves of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting told the paper he believes the lions pictured were bred in captivity and then shot.
“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,” he said.
“This couple should be utterly ashamed of themselves, not showing off and snogging for the cameras.”
Public criticism of trophy hunting and photos of hunters posing over the body of animals has been particularly strong after the 2015 killing of Cecil the Lion, who lived in the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.