A Canadian couple is under fire after a picture of them kissing next to the carcass of a large lion they killed went viral this week.
The image, which was posted to the Facebook page of South African trophy-hunting company Legelela Safaris, shows Darren and Carolyn Carter locking lips next to the animal after a successful hunt.
“Hard work in the hot Kalahari sun… well done. A monster lion,” read the caption accompanying the Facebook post.
According to reports, Legelela Safaris posted another photo of the couple posing next to a second dead lion.
“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,” that caption read.
Kissing lion killing couple causes outrage
As the kissing image made the rounds online, it stirred mounting backlash, including calls for a blanket ban on trophy hunting.
“This has to stop now!” demanded one Twitter user Sunday.
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
On Monday, another called for trophy hunters to get “a lengthy prison sentence.”
Trophy hunting needs banning and those responsible should have a lengthy prison sentence
— David (@dmbpne) July 15, 2019
Others advocated that the couple’s personal lives be wrecked, within reason of course.
They’re from Edmonton. Hopefully they get fired or boycotted or harassed (not hurt and leave their kids alone)
— St. Albert Rob (@ROBFORD99) July 15, 2019
Even Darren Carter’s estranged daughter joined the pile on, saying in a YouTube video that she would never call him “dad” again.
“Who does that? I will never understand people like that, who take pride in shooting a beautiful animal like a lion,” said Syndey Carter, 19. “I’ll never understand it.”
The Carters, meanwhile, said they had no interest in commenting publicly.
“We aren’t interested in commenting on that at all. It’s too political,” the couple told the Mirror.
By Wednesday, Legelela Safaris appeared to have taken down their Facebook page.
British hunter defends the couple
In an interview with the U.K. Daily Express Tuesday, British hunter Carl Knight defended the couple and trophy hunting in general.
“This lion was bred for hunting and for lion bore export to the Far East,” Knight said, seeking to dispel Disney-like visions of the African savanna. “This is not Mufasa or Cecil, this is an animal that was farmed like a cow, a sheep or a crocodile hat is farmed for meat and skin.”
Knight went on to say that the lion’s death will have no impact on the overall population numbers for the species and that trophy hunting has huge benefits for destitute communities.
“The money these clients paid for this lion is much needed in poverty-stricken Southern Africa,” Knight said.
Indeed, supporters of trophy hunting have long argued that the practice is vital to struggling African economies. It can also help preserve animal populations by assigning economic value to natural resources and giving governments an incentive to strictly enforce laws against poaching, they have said.
“Why do we have to answer to your armchair conservationist readers that know nothing about Africa?” Knight wondered.
WATCH: Watch SecDef Nominee and War Veteran Mark Esper’s Powerful Exchange With Elizabeth Warren