The viral photo shows a man and a woman posing for a “romantic” photo with the carcass of a male lion during a hunting safari last month. It was originally posted on a Facebook page belonging to Legelela Safaris, a trophy-hunting company that offers customers a wide range of animals as prey, including lions. The photo caption identifies the couple as Carolyn and Darren Carter of Edmonton.
It’s unclear who shot the lion or whether it was killed legally, but big-game hunting is legal under South African law.
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“Hard work in the hot Kalahari sun … well done,” the original post read, according to reports. “A monster lion.”
Another photo shows the couple posing with the carcass of a male white lion.
The lion photo has triggered an intense negative reaction online, where many users have flooded the Carters’ Facebook page with angry comments.
“Your despicable hunting photos have made headline news,” user Justa Kruger wrote on their page. “You aren’t heroes but villains. What a disgrace you are.”
Others suggested the two would fall victim to karma in the future.
The Legelela Safaris Facebook page has since been deleted.
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The Carters own and operate Solitude Taxidermy in Parkland County, Alta., according to their Facebook page. They appear to have shared the safari photos to their Facebook and Twitter accounts in early July. Their Facebook and Instagram accounts have since been switched to private. Their Twitter account still includes tweets about the trip.
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“Back in South Africa! Part two of our safari!” they tweeted on June 26. The tweet also mentions Legelela Safaris.
The Carters did not respond to Global News’ requests for comment; neither did Legelela Safaris.
The backlash echoes a similar outcry in 2015, when an American dentist was shamed for posing with a lion named “Cecil” that he killed in Zimbabwe.
Solitude Taxidermy’s website shows the Carters posing for hunting photos with various dead animals.
The site also shows the couple’s taxidermy work on different creatures, including a polar bear.
“We are hunters, and we know the significance of great taxidermy,” the site says.
The couple are also listed as a husband-and-wife team on the Parkland Outdoors website.
“Darren and Carolyn are hunters and conservationists with a passion as serious as their taxidermy career,” the description says. It adds that they have travelled and hunted widely, including in Africa.
“Their new goal is to film and share their hunting experiences for people to enjoy,” the site says.
Legelela Safaris’ website lists prices for over two dozen animals including a baboon (US$200), a wildebeast ($850), a giraffe ($3,000) and a hyena ($3,500). Prices for a rhino, an elephant, a lion or a hippo can be provided on request, according to the site.
The company allows customers to shoot animals with cameras or guns.