An American TV presenter is facing an outraged public backlash after she posted a picture of herself posing next to a dead lion she had apparently shot and killed.
Melissa Bachman tweeted the picture of her smiling alongside the animal with the message: “An incredible day hunting in South Africa! Stalked inside 60 yards on this beautiful male lion … what a hunt!”
The picture was also added to Facebook as part of an album called “Africa 2013”, which included images of her next to a dead zebra and a variety of shot antelope, as well as the lion, following a trip to the Maroi Conservancy hunting park.
Now South Africans have started a petition to have Ms Bachman banned from the country, which presently has over 12,000 signatures.
The petition asks supporters to sign a letter directed at the South African government that reads: “She is an absolute contradiction to the culture of conservation, this country prides itself on. Her latest Facebook post features her with a lion she has just executed and murdered in our country.
“As tax payers we demand she no longer be granted access to this country and its natural resources.”
The presenter's Twitter account has since been taken down and the contact form on her website disabled. Her Facecbook page however remains public. The images have been shared hundreds of times on the social network, largely with negative comments attached.
Posing next to dead animals is nothing new for Ms Bachmann, who says she has been hunting since she was a child. Her Facebook page and personal website’s “trophy room” features many such images, including a number with stags, alligators and bears.
Ms Bachman stars in a TV series called Winchester Deadly Passion which documents her hunting exploits using rifles or bow and arrows.
A self professed “hardcore hunter”, her bio reads: “I have the best job in the world, great friends & family, and I'm usually pretty lucky. What more could a girl ask for??”
Last year Ms Bachman was removed as a contestant on the National Geographic show Ultimate Survival Alaska when over 13,000 people signed a petition criticising her inclusion.
Lourens Mostert, game farm manager at the Maroi Conservancy, has defended hunting, asserting that killing a lion is legal in South Africa. “If it isn't right to hunt these lions, why does our government legally give us permission?” he told The Times newspaper. “This is not the only lion that has been hunted in South Africa this year.”
Lions killed in South Africa can be sent to anywhere in Europe or America. In the five years to 2011, 4,062 carcases were exported from the country, the majority of which were lions specifically bred to be killed.