An artist has listed a "permit to hunt a dentist" on eBay amid a worldwide uproar aimed at a US hunter who shot a beloved lion in Zimbabwe.
The advert on the bidding website is a tongue-in-cheek protest against Walter Palmer, who has been accused of paying a hunter and a farmer $50,000 (£32,000) to help him kill the lion named Cecil. The farmer has since been accused of not having a permit, according to Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Authority and the Safari Operators Association.
The dentist has defended his actions in the face of an international outcry and said he thought the trip was legal.
Bidding for the permit – which only lions can buy – starts at a paltry £0.99.
The image advertising the license features a lion prowling inside a dentist’s office.
“I only sell 3 of these permits per year!!!!” illustrator and designer Tokyo Sexwhale, from Norfolk, writes in the fake listing.
“The winning lion will win one hand written permit (by me) which allows you to hunt a dentist.”
“I will provide an experienced dental tracker (also me, 35 years experience) who will book a (fake) appointment and open any doors that you may find tricky to negotiate."
The listing stresses that only “biological lions” can bid on the permit, and the “seller is an experienced animal spotter and has been pointing at and recognizing lions since he was three years old.”
The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force has said Mr Palmer and two other men tied a dead animal to a car to lure Cecil out of a national park before shooting him with a crossbow.
Cecil was found wounded almost two days later, and was shot dead with a gun, said Task Force chairman Johnny Rodrigues.
The lion, which was being studied by researchers at Oxford University, was then skinned and beheaded and attempts were made to destroy its collar which was fitted with a tracking device, according to the Task Force.
The most controversial animal killings
The most controversial animal killings
1/6 Cincinnati Zoo worker shots and kills Harambe, the 17-year-old gorilla
Harambe, a 17-year-old gorilla was shot and killed by a Cincinnati Zoo worker after a three-year-old boy climbed into a gorilla enclosure and was grabbed and dragged by Harambe. The incident was recorded on video and received broad international coverage and commentary, including controversy over the choice to kill Harambe. A number of primatologists and conservationists wrote later that the zoo had no other choice under the circumstances, and that it highlighted the danger of zoo animals in close proximity to humans and the need for better standards of care
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
2/6 Walt Palmer (left), from Minnesota, who killed Cecil, the Zimbabwean lion (pictured here with another lion shot in Africa)
Walter James Palmer has been named by Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force as the shooter of Cecil, a 13-year-old prized lion. He is now wanted by Zimbabwe officials on poaching charges. The lion was protected and the subject of a decade long study by the Wildlife Unit of Oxford University in the UK. He was outfitted with a GPS collar and was killed in Hwange National Park. The Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Authority and the Safari Operators Association said that two men were charged with poaching in connection to Mr Palmer
3/6 Kendall Jones hunting images
Kendall Jones, a 19-year-old Texas Tech university student, has provoked worldwide fury after posting pictures of herself smiling next to animals she hunted, including a lion, rhinoceros, antelope, leopard, elephant, zebra and hippopotamus
4/6 Rebecca Francis hunting images
Rebecca Francis, a huntress who has killed dozens of wild animals has been sent death wishes by furious social media users after a picture showing her lying down next to a dead giraffe was circulated. Rebecca Francis has a website and Facebook page dedicated to the animals she has killed in hunts across Africa and America. Francis, a prolific hunter who has also co-hosted the television show Eye of the Hunter, regularly posts pictures of herself posing next to dead bears, giraffes, buffaloes and zebras, among other animals. She uses a bow and arrow to kill her prey
5/6 The slaughter of Marius, an 18-month-old healthy giraffe in Copenhagen Zoo
Copenhagen Zoo made the controversial decision to euthanise a healthy giraffe named Marius, which was later dissected and fed to lions as visitors watched. The slaughter sparked a furious backlash from social media users and zoo staff have received death threats by phone and email. Soon after the incident, Copenhagen Zoo faced an international outcry once again after four healthy lions were put down
6/6 Swiss Dählhölzli zoo kills healthy brown bear cub
A Switzerland zoo faced heavy criticism from animal rights groups, after keepers put down a healthy brown bear cub to spare it from being bullied by its dominant male father. The 360 kg male bear Misha had already killed one of his 11-week old cubs in public and was bullying the second, staff at the zoo said, because he was jealous of the attention the cubs were receiving from their mother, Masha. Both adult brown bears had been donated to Bern’s Dählhölzli zoo in 2009. Campaigners condemned staff there for not separating the cubs, who are being referred to as Baby Bear Two and Baby Bear Three, and their mother from Misha after their birth in January
Professor David Macdonald, who founded the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit at Oxford University, warned Cecil's death would lead to a “cascade” of other deaths.
“The death of one lion is not just the death of one lion - it is a cascade. It has consequences,” he said. “Cecil was the only male so it is highly likely that the incoming males will kill his offspring.”
Two Zimbabwean men have been arrested on suspicion of poaching, while congresswoman Betty McCollum has called for US authorities to investigate see whether Mr Palmer violated any US laws.
Additional reporting by PA