Couple kissing next to lion they killed spark global outrage, highlighting urgency for ending trophy hunting

By on July 19, 2019 with 20 Comments

The latest controversy surrounding lurid social media posts by trophy hunters has prompted a predictable response — global outrage and a wave of tweet storms directed at the individuals involved. This time around, it’s a Canadian couple who posed for a kiss over the dead captive lion they’d just killed in South Africa.

Those of us who spend our days trying to preserve and safeguard the world’s dwindling populations of endangered and threatened animals, and to prevent their slaughter, are accustomed to the grim details of trophy hunting and to the terrible toll it takes on healthy, beautiful and extraordinary animals. Even so, such photos are appalling to us.

In this instance, the two hunters have married a familiar display of personal affection to their brazen and remorseless killing of an animal whose lifeless body lies before them. It’s not romantic to the rest of us; it’s crass and clueless, and horrifying.

And worse yet, media reports suggest that the lion had been bred in captivity and confined in a small enclosure at a canned hunt facility – enterprises that profit off the exploitation of innocent animals from cradle to grave.

The outrage is palpable and rightly so, but targeting the couple will not solve the problem. We need to use such moments to highlight the many channels through which we can all work together to bring trophy hunting to an end.

The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International are aggressively publicizing the destructive impact of trophy hunting, stateside and worldwide. We’re lobbying and litigating to stop it in legislatures, treaty organizations and courts. We’re working to give communities living alongside wildlife the non-lethal tools needed to promote coexistence, and to encourage wildlife watching and photographic tourism as a much more substantial, sustainable and viable alternative to trophy hunting in the long term. We’re pressing airlines not to transport the skins and body parts taken as trophies. And we’re building a global community committed to the methodical, steady and certain dismantling of the trophy hunting industry worldwide.

In Canada, where the couple’s photograph and actions have angered countless citizens, we are fighting for laws to end trophy hunting. Canada is a major destination for international trophy hunters, but polls show that four out of five Canadians support legislation to ban all trophy hunting. HSI Canada has been campaigning for legislation to do so, and has played a central role in achieving corporate policies prohibiting the transport of wildlife trophies. Within Canada, we have been successful in helping to secure a ban on spear hunting in Alberta and a ban on grizzly hunting in British Columbia.

Stateside, the Humane Society Legislative Fund is supporting legislation to address the role that wealthy Americans play in sustaining trophy hunting, including canned hunting enterprises in African countries. The Conserving Ecosystems by Ceasing the Importation of Large Animal Trophies (CECIL) Act, introduced in Congress by House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., would substantially restrict the import and export of trophies of any species listed or proposed to be listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and prohibit the import of elephant and lion trophies from Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania.

In coming days, we expect the Prohibiting Threatened and Endangered Creature Trophies (ProTECT) Act to be introduced in Congress. This bill would prohibit trophy hunting of ESA-listed species in the United States and the import of any trophy of a species listed under the ESA, thereby crippling the trophy hunting industry here at home and globally.

Individuals who think it’s just fine to kill and dishonor threatened and endangered species without compunction are Exhibit A in the case against trophy hunting. But they should not be our personal target. We need to seize these moments and channel this wave of opposition by working together to create an atmosphere of zero tolerance for trophy hunting. We need to strengthen every law and regulation to end this so-called “sport” that severely disrupts animal populations worldwide.

Please take a moment to call your federal lawmakers today and ask them to support the CECIL Act in Congress so we can bring to an end the role our nation plays in this craven activity.

Humane Society International, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative), Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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  1. Susan Davis says:

    This is so horrible & just plain cruel. Why do people feel compelled to kill for no good reason?

  2. Marlena says:

    This is totally disgusting. Just totally disgusting

  3. Alan Alejandro Maldonado Ortiz says:

    Esto es una cobardia maldita gente no es justo que hagan esto

  4. Connie says:

    Killing for “sport”? It’s really murder for fun.

  5. Barbara says:

    Find something productive to do with your lives. Help the innocent animals instead of being part of the murderous bullshit that you’re involved in.Just remember God is watching you and you absolutely will have to be accountable for your behavior.

  6. Joy Ruth says:

    This is sickening! No animal deserves to be trapped for a canned hunt so some morons can kill the trapped creature. That isn’t fair. It’s cowardly, and despicable.

  7. Johana says:


    I blame Boone & Crockett, DSC, SCI, Sportsment Alliance, St. Hubertus, and all the other trophy hunting organizations who promote this cruelty.

    Animal cruelty must end. It should be illegal to kill innocent animals for a thrill, picture or stuffed head on a wall.

    That lion was beautiful and majestic. This is a senseless CRIME.

    • Anita Martin says:

      One day maybe people will boycott businesses of trophy hunters. Wouldn’t that be something? Some of those board members would feel the paiin in their pocket just like they inflict on the innocent animals they ruthlessly kill for their own entitlement. But it seems the word “boycott” never gets posted on this blog.

  8. Jolynn VanCamp says:

    Stop all trophy hunting. For that matter, stop all hunting! Animals can and do regulate their own numbers when left alone!
    Thousands of species have been hunted to extinction already!

  9. Andrea Mongelli says:

    Killing animals as majestic as a lion, tiger, giraffe or elephant should be illegal, unless you are using it for food! Killing these animals for sport is just inhumane & disgusting! They should be arrested for animal cruelty!

  10. Lisa Pearce says:

    The death of a beautiful animal at the hands of a celebrating couple turns my stomach. I have serious feelings about releasing their names for public shaming but try to rise above. Thank you, Kitty and HSUS for being beacons of hope.

  11. Lisa Adam says:

    Thank you for this reasoned column about an appropriate response to this senseless cruelty. As passionate as most HSUS and HSI supporters are of animal welfare, I feel like we need to remember to channel that passion into positive and effective measures. I feel anger when I see photos like this, but I know that we need to channel and transform that anger in a way that makes changes instead of just increasing a climate of hostility–which so often solidifies people of opposing mindsets in their own positions.

  12. Sue Biasizzo says:

    Were these people living under a rock? Or maybe they don’t believe any of the comments refer to them! They are no better than the two sons of our current man in the White House who posed for a picture of an animal (can’t remember what type) with big smiles on their faces. This is absolutely despicable!

  13. Susie says:

    Some people get turned on by violence. I wonder what this couple calls foreplay?

  14. Sherri limb says:

    Such vile people. Please don’t breed any future animal killers. Sick

  15. cindy Sutton says:

    DISGUSTING, what kind of sociopaths think that killing a majestic and an already endangered animal, is cool, or ok. END TROPHY HUNTING NOW!! There is NO honor in what these 2 did, and I sincerely hope they NEVER have children.

  16. Linda Leather says:

    Big game hunting is a legitimate activity. This couple have hunted a major cat. They have been successful at what they set out to do. I see nothing controversial in that. As for the kiss any couple would celebrate the same way. A wonderful picture and a kiss to celebrate.

  17. Beth says:

    I just can’t.. a photo is all you need to take home with you not a dead once beautiful animal.

  18. Gideon Garica says:

    Is this picture under fair use? May I use it for a film project?

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