In what seemed like a regular picture by a Canadian couple who were on a Safari tour that encourages killing wildlife, people have poured onto social media to express their angst about what has become a trend for white people trophy hunting in Africa.
Darren and Carolyn Carter from Edmonton, Alberta, shared a photo in which they were kissing passionately behind a dead lion – a lion they had killed as they were on one of the tours organized by the Legelela Safaris in South Africa. This sparked the internet uproar.
Underneath the kissing photo, they wrote: ‘Hard work in the hot Kalahari sun…well done. A monster lion.’
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Other photos show the same couple in front of another dead lion, captioned: “There is nothing like hunting the king of the jungle in the sands of the Kalahari.”
The Legelela Safaris, according to its official website, was founded to help and to guide hunters to experience hunting in Africa at its finest. Located in the north-eastern part of the Free State, the Safari encourages hunts all over South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
The tour operator which prides itself on having the best wing shooting that Southern Africa has to offer regularly shares snaps of dead animals alongside proud hunters on its Facebook page often grinning as they hold up their guns.
At the time of writing this article, the Safari page on Facebook was no longer active after thousands of criticisms but it had more photos and even videos on its website and Instagram.
Trophy hunters often claim that they kill animals because they love animals. They rationalize their choice, for instance, by arguing that trophy hunting allows broader animal populations to be conserved.
The Carters, who run a taxidermy business, have described themselves as ‘passionate conservationists’ despite taking part in hunts, reports the Mirror. Mr Carter told the Mirror, ‘We aren’t interested in commenting on that at all. It’s too political.’
Eduardo Goncalves, the founder of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting, believes the lions were captive and bred for the sole purpose of being killed by hunters.
Legelela Safaris charges £2,400 ($3,000) for giraffe hunts and £2,000 ($2,500) for zebra. They also offer leopard, elephant, rhino and lion hunts.
After the story was picked up by international media, people expressed varying levels of disgust and anger as to why and how such a practice is allowed to even exist. Many of them called for the practice to be banned completely.
A Facebook user by the name, Carole Kim Makena, shared her disgust at the situation:
“Feeling absolutely horrified and disgusted… South African safari operators are targeting the UK to promote holidays where tourists can hunt down and shoot captive-bred lions in fenced areas (canned hunting) from which there is no escape. The tour companies are booked for the Great British Shooting Show in Birmingham next February, which describes “the dark continent of Africa” as “the ultimate hunting safari experience.”
A petition aimed at getting the practice disallowed and made illegal has been started and already, it has gathered almost all the 400 signatures it seeks.