In photos posted to Facebook, the pair can be seen locking lips alongside the caption:
“Hard work in the hot Kalahari sun…well done. A monster lion.”
In another post portraying the couple in front of another majestic lion’s corpse, the caption reads:
“There is nothing like hunting the king of the jungle in the sands of the Kalahari.”
Darren and Carolyn Carter of Alberta, Canada, run a taxidermy business and describe themselves as “passionate conservationists.”
However, the fact that they participated in the Legelala Safaris tour—which allowed them to take part in the vile “sport” of shooting and killing at least two lions which are corralled into a small area and released for the purpose of being hunted “on request” suggests anything but a conservationist mindset.
When asked by the Mirror about their participation in the hunts, Darren Carter said:
“We aren’t interested in commenting on that at all. It’s too political.”
The tour operators frequently share snapshots online of victorious hunters, usually wearing triumphant smiles, alongside their dead prey. The Legelala Safaris company allows would-be hunters to kill giraffes, zebras, leopards, lions, rhinos and even elephants for upwards of $2,500.
Eduardo Goncalves, who founded the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting, believes that the lions slaughtered by the couple were bred on a lion farm for the express purpose of being killed for cash in small enclosures.
“There is nothing romantic about killing an innocent animal. It looks as though this lion was a tame animal killed in an enclosure, bred for the sole purpose of being the subject of a smug selfie.
This couple should be utterly ashamed of themselves, not showing off and snogging for the cameras.”
Alongside the release of the story, the U.K.’s Mirror called for greater protection for animals slaughtered by trophy hunting including giraffes, which has seen its population precipitously fall in the wake of increased hunting and poaching.
The campaign also calls for a change in international laws and regulations governing the trade, import, and export of endangered species who are slaughtered by trophy hunters.
The Mirror’s End Trophy Hunting campaign has been supported by a number of notable figures in the U.K., including elected representatives, charities, and celebrities.
Scottish news anchor Lorraine Kelly commented:
“I’m appalled and disgusted by this so-called ‘sport’. I’ve been lucky enough to visit Africa many times and see these beautiful wild animals. I’d like my grandchildren to be able to do the same some day.”
Trophy hunting has grown increasingly controversial since 2015, when infamous photos from Zimbabwe showed U.S. dentist Walter Palmer posing alongside the corpse of Cecil the lion, whom he had just killed.
Over 1,000 lions are slaughtered every year alongside thousands of bears and hundreds of crocodiles, rhinos, and elephants.