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US Hunting Show Host’s Smiling Dead Lion Photo Sparks Outrage in South Africa

By Anthony Thurston on November 18th 2013

Minnesota based hunting show host Melissa Bachman is in hot water over an image that she posted to her Facebook page which depicts her kneeling and smiling over the corpse of a dead lion that she had shot.

Lion_Hunter1

Shortly after the image went up it went viral and caught the attention of citizens of South Africa, where the animal was shot, who have started a petition to have Bachman banned from the country which has already garnered over 15,000 signatures. It should be noted though that while the image has caught the attention of wildlife activists, Bachman hunting (and eventually shooting it) was completely legal.

[Rewind: Elk Put Down After Altercation With Photographer]

The lion population in Africa once stood around 300,000 and is now estimated at around 30,000. Many have predicted that in the not so distant future the only live Lions may be found at your local Zoo. The lion in question here was shot on the land of a wildlife conservancy, which is partly why this has gotten so much attention. The motto of the conservancy is “conservation through sustainable hunting.”

bachman17n-2

I must agree, it seems like a pretty big contradiction there. But that said, I think that the blame here should be on the conservancy and or the government for having hunts like this available. Bachman followed all laws and was happy with her kill – as any hunter would be after bagging the animal they had come to hunt. Say what you will about hunting, but the blame here is not on her in my opinion. You can’t blame a hunter for legally hunting, blame the people that made it legal to hunt.

That is just my .02 cents.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you place any blame on Bachman, or do you agree with me that blame is going to the wrong party here? Share your thoughts below!

[via ABC News]

Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Gautam Naryanan

    Hunting is not a sport! It’s a crime. Did that lion try to kill her? No. Is she going to eat that lion afterward? No. Why can’t she just shoot a dummy target?

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  2. Sam

    Most big games hunters from cities dont even eat any of the animals they kill. I wish they would shoot themselves, its all about the trophies.

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  3. Gonzalo

    Hunting for sports is a sign of a twisted mind. Why would anyone need to kill when no need is satisfied but a psycological deviation? Do they really what to feel the rush? Try doing it bare hand. I have been sucba as close as 10 feet to a tiger shark with nothing in between us, facing a mighty animal really make you understand nature greatness. I only regret not having my camera at hand.

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  4. Mike

    The last few phrases of this article are absolutely ludicrous. Don’t blame the hunter, blame the laws that allow this ? What, nobody has to take responsibility for their actions now ? Can’t she think for herself ? I’ll refrain from writing anything else because photos like this enrage me. I’m biased because I’m an animal lover. Regardless, there is something incongruous about a scene that depicts death and the people responsible for that death with a big smile on their face and a gun in their hand. Maybe it’s just me.

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  5. John Seidel

    This is what you get with ‘for profit’ conservation. TV host = exposure = more clients = more money. The conservation consists of keeping a ready supply of “sick and elderly” (I saw that one sneeze the other day), essentially captive animals available so that paying customers can be driven to them for trophy gathering. The “feeding the starving villagers” argument is a load of crap. You are just selling death. The hunter basically has the apparently challenging task of not falling out of the land rover on the way to the choreographed kill. Quite an accomplishment.

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  6. Jim Latham

    In Texas we have game ranches that stock exotics as well as local animals. The paid hunts pay for the support of the animals on the ranch. A limited area will only support a limited number of animals in a healthy fashion so culling is needed as there are no natural predators. Also the ranches determine which animals are killed which allows them to keep very healthy herds. This has allowed the ranches to build herds of animals that are on the brink of extinction in their native lands. It is in the ranch’s best interest to manage their herds to optimize the quality of their animals.

    Some individuals find this arrangement abhorrent. They believe killing any animal is evil. But they offer no practical alternative to maintain the existence of these animals.

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  7. | |
    • Steve

      That’s a video of a lion killing lion cubs. Maybe some perspective on the animal kingdom is due here.

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  9. Diyan

    This is complete rubbish. How can you defend this monster by saying “it’s a legal kill”. I am sooooo disappoint dan outraged. Of course this is vey much the American way, isn’t it, they just like killing, they love having guns and the love using them. SO primitive, so barbarian. How can something like killing such a perfect, beautiful animal be a justifiable act. What really gets me is her smile and the fact she is posing and bragging with her atrocious act, disgusting, absolutely appalling.
    What do you think is the message age sends to other people, to the new generation we try to raise with a new mindset, one that will preserve not destroy.
    I find people who defend such acts by quoting the Bible saying “Oh, we have a dominion over the animals”, yeah, but not to mercilessly kill them to claim trophy or take a stupid pose and even more stupid photograph. If you think that was God’s idea for the creation, you theology is seriously messed up my friend. You do not know the Bible then.
    Anyway, I must stop now as I am sooooooofrustated over this waste of life, waste of beauty.
    I am ashamed to be a human of that’s what we do. American people should be ashamed, they should ostracise this woman and her act of killing.

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    • Pat

      Whether or not she should have killed the lion is not at issue. She already shot it. Others will shoot more. I know the author asked about blame but that’s immaterial. Casting blame indicates that something wrong was done, which not everyone agrees about, and that it matters what any of us think about that subject; it doesn’t. The real issue, given this is a blog about photography, should be: what should we take pictures of and what should we do with them.
      While the majority of commenters think they’re being empathetic to the lion, which is impossible (look up the word empathy), they’re not. Where is the empathy for the shooter? Very few of you are attempting to understand her point of view because you’re so sure of your moral superiority. Well, I’m here to say: “BULL SHIT!” You’re no better, or worse, than anyone else. If you think you are, then you’re the one who needs to read, and understand, your Bible. That, in a nutshell, is my whole point. If any of you have an ounce of humility, which I doubt, you’ll let the matter drop OR discuss the issue of what you should photograph and where/how/when should it be displayed.

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    • Mike

      This is directed at Pat. I looked up the word empathy and I don’t understand why you mention that it’s impossible to feel empathic to the lion. Why isn’t it ? Because it’s dead ? Because it’s an animal and animal don’t have emotions ? Explain. While you are at it, explain why anybody should feel empathy towards the shooter. I’d like to understand her point of view as to why she likes to kill but I can’t so please enlighten me. And why mention the bible here ? Another thing: Even humble people are entitled to their personal opinions whether these opinions are borne out of emotion or common sense.

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  10. J. Raymond Kelley

    Morality and legality are not the same thing. It was once legal in the US to own slaves. Because of moral suasion, the legality of slavery is outlawed to the extent of that it is often considered to be an illegal form of slavery to force even those under contract to perform services for another that they do not want to so perform against their will. That this photo offends a viewer’s sense of moral dignity and outrage is not made any more acceptable simply because law(s) exist which made the hunting and killing of the animal for “sport” legal. I have no problem with those who find the “hunter” as immoral as those who provide the “legal opportunity” for profit off the money of the “hunter” and off the life of the “hunted.” At the same time, to me, that the photographer finds it acceptable because it was legal raises questions about his personal moral code.

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    • J. Raymond Kelley

      as reads “… that the photographer finds it acceptable …” should read “… that Mr. Thurston, speaking as a professional photographer, finds it acceptable …”

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  11. Iain

    This is totally outrageous, it’s a sad indictment of humanity that we are still so primeval in our thinking, well some of us. I have no idea why anyone would want to end the life of such a majestic animal and be proud of it, it’s a very sad day. Look hard at the picture, this animal was amazing even in death. Using the word hunter does not excuse anyone from this kind of atrocity, hunting or should I say killing for sport is criminal in my opinion, who do we think we are?

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    • Pat

      And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

      That doesn’t guarantee we’ll be good stewards but it does give us the right!

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  12. Pat

    I don’t understand the whole concept of blame in this case. Blame infers something was done wrong. There are only three entities with the authority to decide if something wrong was done: the individual, who obviously didn’t think it was wrong; society, in the form of laws which determined there was nothing wrong with her actions; and God, who’s opinion on this matter is unknowable. You may think the lion’s opinion should be considered but, I assure you, he doesn’t care. Animals, and male lions in particular perform acts that would horrify you!
    But since you are all perfect and never do ANYTHING that someone else would think is wrong, I’ll bow to your superior opinions…NOT!
    BTW, I don’t hunt. If you don’t want to hunt, that’s fine. If you do, that’s fine too.
    Idiots!

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    • Angelina

      Don’t bow sweetie PAThetic
      …. HANG YOUR HEAD IN SHAME!!!!
      you are no more than the website TROLL ready to wind an argument… you’re so luke warm you have no opinion either way!!!
      You’re the reason this world is on chaos & others like you… SO arrogant that you/they do as they wish without regards for others ALL others animals included!!

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    • Pat

      Wow! I could refute everything you say but you wouldn’t understand the arguments. I think the only thing for it is for you to go out and see the world. I think you’ve been sitting in your house way too long.

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  13. Simon Gudgeon

    Before making comments I would urge you to read this article which looks at the situation rationally and without emotion. http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/opinionista/2013-11-19-in-defence-of-a-lion-killer/#.Uot4gKUYSx

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  14. Steph

    Conservation groups care for their animals and land through sustainable hunting. They are trying to contol a population and realize hunting and eco tours make money. They hunt the animals that are old and will be driven off to die by younger stronger animals. They pay a large fee for this opportunity, its not like hunting 100 years ago either but neither is the land and environment. People like to get in their autos, drive to the country and shoot beautiful photos of wild animals and landscapes. These may be some of the same that tear up the landscape with their autos and constant foot traffic all in the name of getting their own photo. Many have enough money to build a mansion on a hill and interupt the wildlife that lived there and get upset when a wild animal eats their dog or cat. You can’t have it both ways, period. We don’t spend as much time hunting racoons and look how many are killed on the roads each year, they are over populating with very little control. Gives the “Call of the Wildman” something to do. Urban sprawl in America and other countries, South America in the Amazon and Africa where people will sell anything to make a dollar. They will kill the Rhino to sell to China so they can get horny. Arguing over a photo like this is ridiculous. If you have tromped down count less plants to get your photos to sell and save the planet is crazy

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  15. John Leach

    Many take pleasure in the kill, many do not.

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  17. Rick

    Sport is where both sides have a chance. I don’t think using a rifle with a high power scope on a tripod gives much chance to the animal and there is no chance the shooter can loose. NOT SPORT

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    • Pat

      Last year, in Africa
      – A tracker suffered a broken pelvis from a wounded Bull Elephant.
      – Owain Lewis was killed by a charging Cape Buffalo.
      – Waye Clark was killed by a Cape Buffalo.

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  18. The Mean Mama

    Not the least bit opposed to hunting. And that is quite the majestic accomplishment. But I agree, Why is hunting of Lions still legal? It’s not like they are a dime a dozen deer (that get eaten after hunted).

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  19. Nayton

    BuRN IN HELL Melissa Bachman!!

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    • Pat

      I don’t know who is more disturbed: you for that ridiculous comment, albeit made in the heat of the moment; or whoever gave you a thumbs up, having had time to really think about what you wrote.
      Let’s think about this. She shot a lion who suffered a couple hours at most (if it were more, they might not have found him), but probably no more than a few minutes. You think she should burn in Hell which, according to most religions, consists of the worst agony possible, but not really imaginable, for ETERNITY.
      Yeah, I guess that’s equitable.
      BTW, wash your face…it’s dirty.

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  20. David

    What’s a little disturbing to me is her smile is so genuine. She’s clearly does enjoy big game hunting…I don’t know how to reconcile that.

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    • Pat

      It’s easy. Forget about it…go on about your business…get a life!

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  21. Make Justice

    I just cannot understand why this kind of people still do exist on this world.
    Most of us feel strongly disgusted about this kind of barbaric actions and feel that people as Melissa Bachman do get away taking lives of innocent animals.
    Fortunately there is a signature petition on change.org to deny the future entry of Melissa Bachman to the Republic of South Africa.

    To sign this petition or read more about it:
    http://www.change.org/petitions/the-government-of-the-republic-of-south-africa-deny-future-entry-to-melissa-bachman

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    • Pat

      Well, men and women get together sometimes, have sex, and a baby is born. This new individual may or may not share your morals but there’s no way to force them to agree with you. Now do you understand?
      I, on the other hand, completely understand why there are still people who think they know what everybody else should do.

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  22. Chris Baldwin

    “You clearly don’t understand the point of this article. ” Anthony Thurston
    What exactly was the point of the article Mr Thurston, I didn’t see any discussion of the quality of the pictures involved or the technique used in shooting them….I saw nothing much that has to do with photography at all.
    All I see is a photographer trying to get publicity for himself and his column! Hope it backfires!

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    • Anthony Thurston

      I can assure you this has nothing to do with me or the publicity of my column. My point was to highlight a photo which was having a big impact, a photo that many hunters have taken with their kills (for food or trophy). Believe it or not a photo is a direct result of wait for it…. Photography. The point here was the fallout from a photo (not that actual act of taking it), and partly to raise awareness for the issue around lion hunting. People confuse my comments saying that I don’t blame the hunter for hunting to mean that I support the hunting of lions. I don’t. You may disagree with the photo, and for my posting it, but to say it has nothing to do with photography is like saying a painting has nothing to do with paint.

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  23. Steve

    I guess the comments indicate what kind of emotional responses can be derived from a simple picture. Sadly, they also show how mean spirited people can be in defending their opinions. A “phantom penis”? Really??? WTF!! Hopefully we can get back to photography and not judging other people’s motives.

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  24. Jeremy

    You know, like many have said, this makes me ill. I can’t stand to see this. Plus the fact she has to use a tripod to shoot her gun, tells me a lot of her intent. The only way I’m shooting this lion is a gun mounted on a tripod, I call it a “Canon” :)

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    • Pat

      Holy Cow! You shoot with a Canon? Where can I sign a petition to make that illegal?? While that DOES give your subject an even chance of not being photographed well, the majority of REALLY professional photographers put meat on the table with Nikons! ;-)

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  25. Ryan

    Here ill educate you further http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOUFdMKTLG4

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  26. Ryan

    Anthony, you are a fool my friend, and truly disgusted that you are actually the poster of his article because I like SLR before this, well done in losing another reader

    You have no idea how corrupt our government is, and to say that is fine ‘because they said so’ indicates my point exactly. You clearly know nothing of it.

    Our government have their little hands in everything corrupt no matter what the cost so that they can build mansions while their false promises to the poor each election, making our country poorer by the day. The reason our wildlife are getting killed is because people like you who are totally oblivious to it living in your little America, where this pathetic excuse of a ‘hunter’ came from. Our rhino, elephants, lions and many more majestic creatures are getting slaughtered each day to make a few men rich so that they can drive a new 4×4, so please don’t come saying this meat went to the poor. The true reality is that their extinction will happen in our lifetime and all you can say, it’s that this is fine, it was ‘legal’ What is wrong with you!
    Another fact that you seem to have missed, not surprised, is that they want to make a show of this idiot to kill even more animals all for the sake of ‘fun’ and to up viewer ratings for natgeo

    Do your research before posting these opinions, because you are just making yourself look extremely nieve. Another thing, stay out of our country if you are going to come kill our beauty or have no education on the matter. If you want to write an article, make sure it actually has something to contribute towards helping us and making a difference.

    Here ill even push you in the right direction, stop this kind of poaching http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/zimbabwe/10390634/Poachers-kill-300-Zimbabwe-elephants-with-cyanide.html

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    • Anthony Thurston

      You clearly don’t understand the point of this article.

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    • Freeman

      RYAN your rambling comment makes no sense at all and you clearly have no grasp on the reality of either legal hunting or illegal poaching in Africa, especially in South Africa. In telling Anthony Thurston to ‘do some research’ and that he has ‘no education’ on the matter you relegate yourself to the realms of Robert Mugabe telling Europe to be more democratic.

      And for the record, Anthony Thurston did not ‘come kill our beauty’, although he, like you, are advocating that the majority of the game reserves and conservation parks in South Africa be closed. It that regard you are just like him.

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  27. Maddox

    This makes me sick. It doesn’t matter if it was legal. It doesn’t take a genius to know that lions are on the decline. It’s too bad there wasn’t a lion hiding in the bushes ready to pounce while she posed with her meaningless kill.

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    • Pat

      It’s too bad there wasn’t a lion, hiding behind your desk, ready to pounce, while you wrote your meaningless comment. Since you’re sick, it would be a mercy kill!

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    • Joe

      Pat, what planet do you live on? I’ve never heard such bizarre and absurd logic!

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    • Pat

      I was merely using Maddox’s words and logic on him. Do you even read the entire threads??

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  28. Nielen

    As a South African, I can confirm that Melissa is not a popular person in our country at the moment. But not only has she brought a lot of negative attention on herself, but also on hunting in general. I fail to see what pleasure there is in killing an animal. It is no brave to use a high powered rifle with a massive scope on it to kill an animal from far away. It is not a moment of pride to pose over the corpse of a dead being. If you hunt because you need to feed your family with the meat from that animal, one can understand it, but if you kill to brag about it, you are a bad excuse for a human being.

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    • Pat

      Enough people are aware of this for you to make your opening statement? Wow! Maybe you guys should get hobbies or something.

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    • FREEMAN

      ERIK has not got the smallest clue as to what is going on here in South Africa. Game parks are businesses that are largely profitable due to the money hunting brings in. That’s the reason why they exist. But because they exist, the land is able have wild animals on it that get live in their natural environment, entirely because hunters pay. The scale of this, is larger than you would think, both in terms of the amount of land used for game farms and the animals that to live on these game farms. Take hunting away and wild life goes out and cows come in. The environment and the wildlife loose. That is what ERIK is advocating, as are you Antony Thurston.

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  29. Shane Thompson

    I can assume from the comments on here than most people are not hunters nor are they directly involved with animal husbandry or wildlife conservation. I will explain briefly how allowing someone to hunt an animal can be considered conservation. On a small preserve such as this there are most likely only one or two prides of lions. With lions, the pride is a matriarchal community, it is run by the lionesses, and there is one dominant male lion which sires the cubs in the pride. Lions (like all animals) are only able to reproduce during a set time in their lives. Once the pass that point of virility, they are no longer able to reproduce cubs. However, this lion will remain the dominant male in the pride until he gets too old to defend that position. Once the younger males in the pride reach the age of maturity, they are driven off by this much larger, older lion. On a preserve such as this they are able to remove an older lion, allowing a younger, lion to move into that position and hopefully guarantee the perpetuation of the pride. The preserve also has to consider other things such as founders effect and for that reason, once a lion has produced a number of cubs, he may be replaced with a male from another pride all together. The point I am trying to make is that these game preserves are overseen by biologists, and wildlife conservation experts who truly have the animals best interests in mind. We may not understand what or how they are doing their jobs, and a forum full of photographers is definitely not the expert panel to suggest a better way. However, part of the job of a wildlife biologist is wonderful and amazing, and part of it is a sad necessity. It is not cheap to run a game preserve and if they can make some money of hunters, to help them do their job and run their preserve, then by all means do it. There are an enormous amount of checks and procedures they must go through to legally harvest an animal such as this, and as long as the hunt was legal, and in the best interest of the prides perpetuation, then congratulations to her on taking such a beautiful and majestic animal. If the idea of hunting still offends you, then you can just continue purchasing your meat from the grocery store, where no animals were harmed to make your dinner.

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    • Nielen

      From the big smile on Melissa’s face, conservation was clearly not her objective in killing that lion. There is a time when it necessary to kill an animal, but that time is not when you want to have fun, or want bragging rights. Please don’t sugarcoat hunting for pleasure with environmental issues.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      I disagree with you here. How do you know that “conservation” was not the cause behind her getting her license to hunt the lion? The fact is that we don’t know that it was to wasn’t, but to say that it was not based on her being happy with her kill is ridiculous. You are right that her personal motives likely had little to nothing to do with conservation, but that doesn’t mean that the reason she was even allowed to hunt wasn’t a valid “conservation” based reason.

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    • Pat

      I don’t care what her motivation is. I work for a company, the owners of which don’t even know I exist. As long as they pay me and it results in food/shelter/clothing/and camera gear:-) for me, I don’t care WHAT they think. When the rain falls on a farmer’s fields, I don’t think he gives a shit what the cloud’s intentions were. In any case, let him who is without sin cast the first stone. You may have read that somewhere but I doubt it…

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  30. Dana

    As the saying goes, just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should. :/

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  31. Erik

    Well being from South Africa, I can tell you that these conservancies are nothing more than shams setup for the rich and wealthy overseas small minded dickheads that want to boost there ego by killing a defensless animal.
    Yes defenseless, this is not a situation where the hunter goes off into the wild all alone hunting a wild animal, it is done in jeeps with guides that are also armed to “protect” the hunter, they are set up for teh easy shot and even assisted in the actual shooting in some cases, the gun beingt o heavy, just look at her, she needs a tripod to hold the rifle, she can’t even hold it herself.
    Yes they say that monies are used to help communities and the conservation of other animals, bull, a small amount goes to that, the rest goes into the pockets of these conservancy owners.
    Want to come to Arica to hunt and boost your ego, sure come along, but why not just use a dart gun, dart the animal, and you have achieved what you wanted, hunted a wild animal, but guess the savages need blood and death.
    Sorry but I am anti any hunting, except subsistance hunting by indigenous people, the person that hunts Lions, Deers, elks, for sport is a savage.
    In fact can’t believe any photographer would want kill something that looks so amazing through a lens.

    Finally yes goverment should not allow this, but we all know how corrupt minsiters are :-( so when a women like this glorifies the killing of our animals, we will protest against her

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    • Anthony Thurston

      Thank you for the comment. Good to hear from someone actually from there who can shed some light on what is actually going on.

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    • Nielen

      Well said Erik!

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    • Pat

      I’m confused. If the majority of South Africans think it should be illegal, why isn’t it? You vote, don’t you?
      Despite my other posts on this topic, if the majority of South Africans think it should be illegal, by all means make it happen. I don’t think persecuting someone who lives within the law is the way to do it, though. I disagree with a lot of things that are legal in my country but I vote for individuals who I think will change those laws…I don’t go after the people who obey them. I am fiercely anti-abortion but I would never do anything against doctors who perform them or women who get them. I vote for like-minded politicians. And, really, I think killing a child is a little more savage than killing a lion. On the other hand, I’ve never seen anyone proudly post photos of these dead children, either…

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    • FREEMAN

      Anthony Thurston let me assure you Erik is just another emotional poster and has no clue what is going on in the game farming business in South Africa. Do some research please. Every time a new piece of land is set aside to become a game farm, there is an increase in the number of wild animals that get to live naturally in the environment. Hunting pays for this. International currency coming into South Africa is welcomed by all, we need this money badly. These hunters are not decreasing the number of animals we have, they are increasing them. Wildlife is on the increase not the decrease, except for rhino, which are being wiped out by poachers. Controlled hunting is very positive and is not unwanted at all. Few here in South Africa would not like to own a lucrative game farm. (Erik aside) Hunting does not happen because the government is corrupt, that is a notion that is founded in fact at all. The vast majority of people here in South Africa do not protest against hunting, it is in fact welcomed.

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  32. Alec Rippberger

    I’m guessing 1) you have to pay a bunch of money to hunt a lion, most of which probably goes to helping the park; and 2) the park has a limited size and needs to keep the population within certain limits (to prevent disease). If my assumptions are true, I see nothing wrong with this.

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    • Joe

      Apply you logic to your community and report back whether that appears to be a logical conclusion.

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    • Pat

      Joe, “Apply you logic..” You obviously put no more thought into your statements than your writing! You’re pretty much my opposite in every single way!

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  33. mike

    Anthony. At this point I dont think people are going to care what you say. The lion species has a population of less that 30 000 we should be trying to save them not to kill them and mount there heads kn a wall for show and pleasure.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      No arguments there.

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    • Pat

      So what are you doing to save them? Commenting on this article does nothing. Signing a petition is pointless. Do you buy South African products to try to support their economy in ways other than hunting? Have you saved up your pennies to go on a photo safari to make up any lost income from the hunts? If so, bravo. If not…

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  34. Ray

    Take the high powered weapon away from her, and level the playing field. That’s when you can call it a hunt.

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  35. Paul Edward Robison

    “… the blame here is not on her in my opinion. You can’t blame a hunter for legally hunting, blame the people that made it legal to hunt.”

    So, there isn’t sufficient blame to go around? It has to be either the hunter OR the legislature??? Sorry, but if your logic is correct and we are forced to choose, I’d simply ask, who pulled the trigger.

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    • Pat

      Nobody gives a rat’s patootie what you choose so don’t feel like you have to. What a bunch of hypocritical morons. You buy products from countries that use children for manual labor; unless you’re a vegetarian, you eat meat from animals that never had a moment of freedom, unlike that lion.

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  36. Josh Blaha

    It’s a shame that someone can take what is legally theirs by law. They can target the thing they want and drain it from their life. The fact that one can legally drain life from that which has has committed no crime is a crime in and of itself. I would agree that it is a government issue. But it’s the politicians who are to be blamed for taking their liberties to the extent of their freedoms.

    Oh wait! We weren’t talking about politicians were we? My bad.

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    • Pat

      Shouldn’t you be in school??

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  37. Emmanuel Moka

    I think the real issue here is that hunting and animal that is creeping toward extinction isn’t the smartest thing to do, especially if it is just for the sake of “sport”. In response to Anthony Thurston saying “But for me I see no difference here from someone hunting a Deer or Elk…” how can you even compare hunting a lion to hunting a deer or an elk? That’s comparing a Porsche to a Lamborghini. Also in most cases the deer, elk or whatever is more likely than not going to be eaten at some point even in the sake of sport, which isn’t the case here. It’s really just senseless killing in my opinion.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      It has come to my attention that the Lion meat was, and is in all other cases from this place as well, donated to feed poor families in the area. So in fact it was not senseless killing, it brought what was likely a large sum of money and food to the area.

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    • Pat

      If you’ll give me a Porsche 918 Spyder and a Lamborghini Veneno, I’ll be happy to research and report back what it’s like to compare a Porsche to a Lamborghini. But for the sake of my report, is a lion the Porsche or the Lamborghini?
      Seriously though, do you really think the lion cares if it’s sport or not; meat or not? When a male lion takes over a pride and kills all the cubs, is that for sport or meat??

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  38. Kase

    So…In the U.S.A wildlife conservation is implemented in a huge part by hunters. i.e. fees and licensing pay for most of the what constitutes “conservation” I don’t know what goes down in South Africa, but I would imagine that this “Wildlife Conservancy” is a place set up, and sectioned off for wealthy hunters from all over the world to get a chance to hunt exotic african animals in their natural habitat…aaaand that a good portion of the funds from such a conservancy go towards wildlife protection in that and other “Wildlife Conservancies” in the area. Not just for lions, but other cool african mega fauna.
    Lions are killed in Africa by people all the time. Either from poaching, or destruction of habitat, or maybe they kill cattle and people hunt them down and kill them back. Maybe this is a case of “kill 1 lion save 100”
    I hunt to fill my freezer, and even if I had the “metric shit ton” of money i’m sure is required to hunt a lion in africa, I wouldn’t do it. Why? cause any of those lions could be Aslan, and do you really want to be the douche who shoots Aslan? Plus, you know he is just gonna come back to life on the stone table and kick your ass.

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  39. RGL

    Ted Nugent does. Who cares if you use the meat to feed your family solely on hunted meat. I know several that eat 50% from hunted meat. I bet the locals were eating just fine after that hunt. That is where a lot of that meat ends up. More importantly what does this have to do with photography? This is totally ridiculous.

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  40. Gab Labelle

    Killing for the fun of it is a disgrace! Sadly, it shows a lot about human nature. Taking lives is not a sport and animals are not toys, they are beings.

    Hunting being legal doesn’t make it right. Slavery, Meth, Drinking and Driving, Lobotomies, Forced Castrations, Domestic violence, Marital Rape, Child Labor and Abuse, were legal at some point in history? But they still were bad things though.

    I can not understand that a normal sane person would bring death to a living being in order to feel alive. What lack of Empathy!

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  41. James McManus

    QUICK! A NEWS ARTICLE HAS A PHOTO IN IT! WE MUST WRITE ABOUT IT ON SLRLOUNGE!

    Seriously, get back to photography and cameras and stuff and stop trying to be hip and edgy and reporting hot topics like conservation of animals…

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    • Anthony Thurston

      Thanks for the laugh, I enjoyed your sarcasm. But really, the news in this case *was the photo*. I appreciate that you don’t find this relevant to photography, but I respectfully disagree. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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    • James McManus

      No disrepesct to you, Anthony, but on a day where SLR Lounge also posted an article about Google Maps posting up the satellite image of a crime scene involving a young boy, an incident which even the article admits has already been acknowledged by Google and that they’ll be taking it down, yet SLR Lounge deemed it appropriate in posting the image on the site for prosperity, it seems SLR Lounge is merely jumping on hot topics to spur debate and drive traffic.

      While, yes, photography can highlight the bad, and it can be used to start intellectual conversations about things that need addressing, such as animal conservation, or as human rights issues, or any other number of topics that need discussing, I am finding it disheartening to find such things being posted here to stir such debate when, no offence, not one person who can change anything is going to give a damn what is said on a photography site.

      Before you say “That’s a bit far?” Well, I ask two things.

      1) You just write off the “conservation through sustainable hunting” motto as contradictory without considering the implications that overpopulation of such animals on the conservation would have. I will freely admit I have not researched such things, but perhaps you should do so before just saying that it’s wrong.

      2) You claim to be all about the photo… As such, you should be all about the social repercussions that said photo has had, i.e. the outcry for the conservation of such wildcats. You acknowledge it, but in a way that will do no good to help. Perhaps, you know, you could have LINKED to the mentioned petition in the article? That may do some more good than just posting to be on the cutting edge of journalism…

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    • James McManus

      Might just add, I’m in no way condoning or endorsing the killing of wildlife.

      Just the posting of photography articles on photography sites.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      I appreciate your comments. I agree that the timing of these two posts was not ideal. But, to be fair, it is not like we post these sorts of stories on a regular basis. I thought that this was worth posting about, you may disagree with me and my reasons, and that is ok. I will have plenty of photography articles on the schedule for tomorrow :)

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    • James McManus

      Glad to hear it. Look forward to more content like your piece the other day on posting to your blog from lightroom.

      Side note, I hope SLR Lounge don’t continue this trend and start posting the images when the next Anthony Weiner gets involved in a sexting scandal… After all, it’s about a photo.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      We have already had an internal discussion about it. You will be glad to hear that this sort of thing will not be a normal occurrence here. again, thanks for your thoughtful comments. :)

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  42. Ming Hui

    Don’t blame her for hunting the lion , Blame the Park for allowing them to hunt ! The lions are already categorized as Vulnerable (IUCN 3.1) yet still they’re legally hunted down.

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    • Joe

      Just because it is allowed doesn’t mean you should do it. People are not automatons and have to be responsible for their actions.

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    • Pat

      She was responsible. She had her picture taken so everyone would know who killed it and, according to the author, she distributed the meat to locals. Sounds responsible to me.

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  43. Abel Bautista

    So, I’ve worked for a bunch of hunting lodges in Alaska in a huge range of capacities (remote caretaker, camp assistants, etc) and I’ve worked with a lot of people like this woman. To compare these types of trophy game hunts (especially of a carnivore who will almost certainly not be eaten) to other types of big game hunting is a bit obtuse. Yeah, many people going to AK, Africa or anywhere else for a big game hunt are really looking for a trophy. Total fact. However, you’d be shocked at how many people who hunt things like elk put the meat either on par with or at greater importance than the trophy. I never had any respect for the people who went up to Kodiak from across the world to bag a Kodiak brownie just for the skull, and I don’t have respect for people who do this in Africa. I found almost universally that the people who engage in these types of far-off trophy hunts for skulls and other trophies were the worst tippers, the worst to spend time with, and generally the most self-involved of the hunters I’ve met. But these are definitely the small percentage of the hunting community.

    Either way, equating some woman measuring her phantom penis by shooting a big gun to a person shooting an elk to feed their family seems almost willfully ignorant.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      Name one soul in the entire US that actually feeds their family solely on what they hunt. You can’t, because there isn’t anyone, mostly because most places have limits on what and how much you can hunt. and to be fair the majority of hunters these days do it for the trophies and the meat is an afterthought (an added befefit as it were).

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    • Abel Bautista

      I can actually name dozens. I do, for one. I hunt and I’ve never had my picture taken with a kill (I’ve photographed kills, but never posed like a dick with one) and never had one mounted. And I never even mentioned living “solely” off of hunts. I mentioned people who hunt and feed their family with the meat when they do hunt. A single full-grown bull elk can give you maybe 180 lbs of meat, which is a big savings and can last a LONG time.

      Beyond myself, in AK there are thousands of people who get subsistence hunting permits who literally live off of their hunts. I live in Oregon now (where I see you’re from in your bio) and I only know a handful of people who have their pictures taken or mount their kills. Even with an elk.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      Able I go hunting here in Oregon every year, I too know what kind of meat you can get from a Deer, Elk, or any other big game here. It is substantial, but hardly enough to live off of from season to season. That said, i don’t get my picture taken posed with an animal either unless it is something special to me. I did it with my first Coyote, Deer, Elk, etc. Its not important to me to have or post pictures of them. In this woman’s case she is a hunting show TV host, her job is to publicly post about the kills that she has.

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    • Abel Bautista

      Want to make it clear I’m not a subsistence hunter. I do it as a supplement to family food and as one of many outdoor activities I love to do in this great state. Never meant to imply that. But I do know people who live on nothing but the animals they hunt, the fish they catch and the food they forage. It’s actually not very uncommon in Alaska especially among native people.

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    • Abel Bautista

      It’s substantial if you know how to use it. Plus if you have kids who hunt too it adds up, though it would be pretty unlikely for three people in the same house to get an elk here. You can go a couple years or more sometimes without getting one, after all. I didn’t mean it to say that there are these proud people who eat nothing but hunted food on one side and these dicks who just do it for sport on the other. I meant it as saying that there is absolutely a difference between hunting something to eat it and shooting something to try and convince people you have a big dick. Not accusing you of either, but I stand by my point that it’s at least an ignorant statement to paint such a broad stroke on the whole hunting community by saying something like “but if you are ok some hunting then I feel like faulting her in this case is a bit hypocritical”. Seems like it doesn’t pay any attention to the fact that there are more than two types of hunters. Anyway just my two cents that’s all.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      Ok, I can respect that opinion. Thanks for the good discussion.

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  44. Spencer

    No one mentioned that a lion is a meat eating predator.

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    • Jeannie

      She was in her jeep, probably 10 feet away when she shot him. No hunting here. Lions aren’t afraid of jeeps. And if she was actually creeping around, I am sure the 15-20 other lionesses would have spotted her first. But who knows, since she was on a conservation, the lion may have been an outcast, old and/or injured to be on the Conservation. So again, not really hunting.

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    • Dip

      @spencer – buddy, it means that since you lied to people at some point of ur life ( which we have done often in our lives , whether be it big or small ) .. does that authorize that you should be cheated or robbed or anything worse because you have done something we consider morally wrong?

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    • Pat

      When a male lion takes over a pride, it systematically kills EVERY SINGLE CUB in the pride. EVERY SINGLE ONE! Now, I could be wrong, but I’m guessing this guy had a better chance than those cubs. Of course, I didn’t see a wedding band on his finger; maybe he died a bachelor and never killed any cubs…
      Am I the only person posting today that watched Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom? :-)

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  45. Black Z Eddie

    If there were 2 lions left and it was legal to hunt, does that mean it’s ok? I don’t think so. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. I can understand if the place was being over-run by lions where the rest of the animals were in danger. But, sounds like the lion population is in decline. If so, do not hunt them….even if legal. It’s only common sense.

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  46. Wendy

    I just don’t understand what makes a person able to kill an animal for sport. Happy about her kill? Killing a living breathing thing for fun is disturbing to me.

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    • Chelsea

      I agree 100%. When I see FB friends post pictures like these (but with deer and local game) I take the person off my newsfeed. If I’m especially sassy, I’ll delete them and not think twice. This is 10x worse because it was purely for her amusement. As others have already posted, she won’t be eating the meat. She doesn’t respect the animals she kills; isn’t grateful for them. Just disgustingly proud.

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    • Pat

      Wendy… I actually agree with your first statement but it’s really none of my or your business.
      Chelsea… If you’re on FaceBook, You’re much more disgusting than any hunter!

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    • Joe

      Pat. None of your logic seems to make any sense.

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    • Pat

      That’s understandable. I don’t understand most of the posters’ logic, regarding this subject, either.

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  47. Laurie

    I don’t understand why people have to hunt these animals for sport. There is no gain by killing such a majestic creature other than a photo of you looking like a total ass.

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  48. Laz

    It’s too easy nowadays for any agency to slap the word “conservancy” onto their name while, in fact, they are far from it. The government and the agencies involved certainly hold the fault, but I feel she is just as responsible. Any TRUE hunter is educated and has COMMON SENSE above all else. This animal, considering its population status, should have not been killed — especially for sport! Alas, too much of the world is deprived of any connection with nature thus we see headlines like this too often. She would have deemed a lot more respect from me if she would have hunted that lion with a camera and a 10mm wide angle lens!!

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    • Anthony Thurston

      Well, she is a TV show host and her show is based on the animals that she hunts in Africa. So to me that explains a lot. Doesn’t make it “morally right” though…

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    • Doede

      Anthony: really, a TV show on hunting animals in Africa? Seems like clear proof she’s a commercial hunter. But hey, it’s legal! Smells like a “bowling for Columbine” here.

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    • Pat

      Doede: Are you really comparing shooting a lion to shooting people? And if you’re a Michael Moore fan (isn’t he the guy who made that movie?) then you’re an idiot and your opinion doesn’t count!

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    • Joe

      Pat – seems like you don’t have any first hand knowledge about Michael Moore, so that invalidates your opinion on what he is saying since your speaking through someone else’s filter.

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    • Pat

      “First hand knowledge”? No. I don’t know him personally. You do? I couldn’t remember if he did the “Columbine” thing but I’m pretty knowledgeable concerning his attitudes. If lack of first hand knowledge or “speaking through someone else’s filter” (whatever that means) disqualifies anyone’s opinion, every comment here is invalid. Nobody here is her or knows her. I’ll shut up if the rest of you will!

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  49. Simon Fletcher

    She used a powerful gun with a scope to kill an animal, I don’t really see the sport in that. All groups are to blame in my opinion.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      I respect that opinion. But for me I see no difference here from someone hunting a Deer or Elk, other than that in the case of the Lion it is literally just for sport (since I doubt she is carving up Lion steaks to have for dinner, but I could be wrong on that). If you have an issue with hunting in general that is your right, but if you are ok some hunting then I feel like faulting her in this case is a bit hypocritical.

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    • Jacob delaRosa

      Well it’s not THAT easy but I see your point. Look how well they blend into their environment:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTEx677Ilqk

      Probably like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

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    • Jeannie

      Yes, I’ve been to Africa several times and have been on many game drives “safari’s” and one thing for sure, she didn’t “hunt” this animal. She drove in a jeep, found the lion (which they already knew where it was because the game drivers pretty much know where the lions are on their land), she fascinated at the view, and then shot him. Lions do NOT run away from the jeeps. They don’t see it as a threat. So for me this was a publicity kills, a selfish ego kill.

      But I do want to mention that there have been alot and I mean alot of illegal poaching and illegal game hunting on the Preserves. These Conversations have really minimized the wild killings by giving the hunters an isolated place to hunt. I still don’t agree with it or any wild life hunting. Now I might change my mind if the hunter actually hunted with a knife or a spear or with a bow and chased after the animal.

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    • Pat

      Well as long as YOU don’t see the sport in it, that’s all that matters. Look, I don’t hunt but if someone wants to do that, and it’s legal, fine. I don’t see the sport in football or baseball or any other human sports, either, but if you want to play or watch or whatever…have at it!

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  50. engin

    It being legal doesn’t change the fact that this woman is a psycho.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      How is she psycho? Because he posed for a picture with a kill from her hunt? How is this different that joe shmoe who just shot a big bull elk and poses for a picture? No difference here except that a lion is a much rarer animal (and likely is not being eaten).

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    • George

      Could not agree more; every person that hunts and kills animals -except for food or self defense- should see a shrink.

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    • Pat

      Wow! A psycho? Are you sure it’s that serious? I mean…if she is, then she needs help! Gosh! A real psycho… Who’d have thought.

      Just so we’re clear here, that was sarcasm.

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    • Steve

      It isn’t different than someone who shoots a big elk and poses by it. In either case it shows a disgusting lack of empathy bordering on the psychopathic.

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    • Pat

      It’s impossible to have empathy for an animal who’s thoughts and feelings you can’t possibly understand. You, on the other hand, have no empathy for this woman. It doesn’t mean you will agree with her (I don’t) but you could try to understand her point of view.

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    • Charlie Self

      I’m with Anthony here. Too, the woman is not a psycho; one does have to wonder why people cannot come up with more reasoned, and reasonable, descriptions of those with whom they disagree.

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  51. Carl Viens

    “You can’t blame a hunter for legally hunting, blame the people that made it legal to hunt.”
    Where there is demand, there will be offer. Replace the good looking lady with any average Joe hunter, and you have totally different conclusion to your post.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      Thats not true at all, I could care less if it was an attractive woman or a 300lbs man in a gocart. It was legal for her to hunt and she partook in that legal activity. If people think that is wrong then they should appeal to the government that makes hunting these animals legal.

      What I do have a problem with is a “Wildlife conservancy” having hunts. I’m sorry but that is a biggest load of crap I have ever heard.

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    • GioPhoto

      @Anthony Thurston

      This is not about who did it or whether it’s legal or not. It is about a culture that lacks humanity.
      Showing humanity isn’t about humans having the “one up” on wild life. It is about respecting all life. With self preservation aside there is no good reason to slaughter any animal, especially when you have a clear advantage. Hunting deer for food isn’t the same as this. This is for fun.
      If you question the legality of the matter and conclude that she was in her legal right to kill the lion, you are right. But the fact that it was legal does not make it moral, human or right. There are many questionable laws in this world. Not too long ago was apartheid legal in South Africa, slavery in the United States. There are still laws in some countries that make religious persecution legal as well as countries where it’s OK to ridicule or even kill a woman because they are considered inferior.

      If you ask me if this lady is a monster, I’d say probably not. I’d say however, that she belongs to a sad culture that teaches their kids not to respect life, a culture that lacks humanity, and a culture that believes that our actions are justified just because our government permits them.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      The meat in this case was donated to poor and starving families in the area, and the money used will likely be put to good use in the local area as well. I don’t agree with hunting lions, that might get lost in all my comments, but I am in no way saying that I think killing a lion is right. That said, if it is legal and she makes the choice to do that then I am not gonna take issue with it. Ill take issue with the government and “conservationists” that give her the opportunity to take part in it.

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    • GioPhoto

      @ Anthony Thurston

      The idea of killing this magnificent animal in a staged environment being justified by feeding a village is debatable.
      That would be like shooting an elderly woman to steal the 2 dollars in her purse to buy a sandwich because it’s 3 in the afternoon and you haven’t had lunch yet.
      OK perhaps that was a bit exaggerated.
      I didn’t mean to imply that you are OK with lion hunting. It just concerns me that some law makers can be so obtuse when claiming that certain things need to be done for the greater good. And that certain people can be heartless. I really doubt that feeding those people was the driving force behind her “hunt”. I guess it’s just my opinion. Like you said, it is a government and “conservationist” issue, and I think, an issue with human responsibility.

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    • Freeman

      @Anthony Thurston

      “What I do have a problem with is a “Wildlife conservancy” having hunts. I’m sorry but that is a biggest load of crap I have ever heard.”

      It is hard to believe that you can have lived as long as you have and be this ignorant. Do you think the lion will live forever? How will it die naturally if not shot, will he be hunted or will he starve to death? If the park lets him starve how will it help the lion or the rest of the other animals in the park? If a hunter pays $10 – 30 000 to shoot the old lion, DO YOU THINK THAT WILL HELP THE CONSERVATION PARK???

      Stupidity is not born, its developed. Think a little please and do some research before posting such unbelievably ignorant and stupid comments . Hunting almost single handedly pays for wildlife conservation. Take hunting away and we will lose an untold number of parks and animals that right now get to live in their natural environment.

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  52. Hanssie

    I don’t think it’s her fault per se, but it’s so sad to see that majestic lion lifeless due to “sport.” (And I’m not really about animal conservation or causes like that).

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    • G.V. PhotoG

      Hunting is not a sport! It’s a crime. Did that lion try to kill her? No. Is she going to eat that lion afterward? No. Why can’t she just shoot a dummy target?

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    • Doede

      This article and reasoning is just plain ridiculous! I totally agree with GV Photog. Stop explaining away that shooting is OK, “because the law says it’s OK”. That law was maybe written by humans who like hunting!

      How can we (the people of Earth) conserve a species consisting of 30.000 animals by shooting them down, while not so long ago there were 300.000?

      The only good thing in here would be a tough punishment for that Melissa (who is she anyway?). In some countries your right hand get chopped off when you steal something material. Extrapolate that to killing something…

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    • Anthony Thurston

      I think that you misunderstand me saying not to blame the hunter with me saying I think that killing the lion is OK. Two completely different things. I am not going to blame someone for doing something when it is legal (whether I agree with it or not) for them to choose to partake in that activity, I place blame on the government and agencies that make it legal for that person to participate. That does not mean that I think it is OK that she – or anyone – kills a lion.

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    • Chris Baldwin

      Of course its her fault, she pulled the trigger. Just because its legal doesn’t change the fact that she is the one that killed it. Why people get off on shooting animals I don’t know….kind of a sick hobby in my opinion. Trying to increase your self esteem by killing an animal who has next to no chance against you is like beating on an old person and feeling good about it….

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    • Antonio

      I love how no one is responsible for their actions anymore. Blame Obama. Blame the manufacturer. Blame the teachers. Blame everyone but yourself.

      Also, just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean you SHOULD do something.

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    • GrimGraham

      Out law hunting for any animal that is close to extinction, if hunters have a problem with that. To Bad, you have to wait for a few years. If these animals are gone, its your fault smile wildlife host. I would like to hunt a lion and eat yes, but there is a limit and conservation takes time, and if you don’t want to wait. Well Screw off ~!`

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    • Pat

      G.V. PHOTOG: I’d suggest she shoot you but you’re clearly not a target!

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    • Freeman

      Hanssie have you ever considered what happens to a lion when it get too old to hunt to feed itself? They starve to death, taking weeks or months. They become scavengers and have to compete with hyenas, often getting bitten badly in fights they can not win. Starving, with rotting sores, the death of an old lion is gastly beyond words. So what do the conservation parks do? Well they either shoot the old lions themselves or they raise money, by selling the old lions to hunters. The ignorance on display here in the various comments (not to mention the unbridled stupidity) is quite astounding. None of the commenters here would pay the $10 000 or so the hunters do for the old lions they shoot, nor would they have the stomach to watch an old lion starve to death. Its not bleeding hearts that support conservation here in Africa (yes I live here), its hunters. Their money allows for thousands of game farms to exist that would not exist otherwise. Their money provides jobs and income for more families than these commenters could imagine. Their money provides land for more animals to live in the wild than could possibly live without it. This lady and other like her are the animal lovers and supporters of wildlife conservation in africa. The bleeding hearts here on this page, are the enemies. If the bleeding hearts voices are heard and hunting is banned, more animals than you could imaging will die, whole habitats wiped out and extinction brought one step closer for many, lions in particular.

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    • Jonas Jay

      PAT: It’s interesting, you make yourself sounds like Melissa Bachman and it seems to me that you have no life (you reply on every fucking comment on this post).

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    • Hillary

      If you eat meat, then you are responsible for the killing of animals! Most of the people who criticize hunters are hypocrites. At least the hunters have enough respect for the animal to kill it and eat it themselves and not hire a hit man (your butcher) to do the dirtywork for them. So, unless you don’t eat meat, shut up and move on!

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