An American TV presenter has been condemned for tweeting a picture of herself standing over a dead lion and boasting that she hunted it on safari in South Africa. More than 3,500 people signed an online petition calling for the self-declared “hardcore hunter” Melissa Bachman to be banned from returning to South Africa.
The Minnesota-based celebrity posted a photo of herself smiling next to the body of an adult lion after a hunt at the Maroi conservancy in the northern Limpopo province. The caption read: “An incredible day hunting in South Africa! Stalked inside 60 yards on this beautiful male lion … what a hunt!”
The style is a familiar one for Bachman, who has previously been photographed with what appears to be the carcass of a bear. She is no stranger controversy, having been removed as a contestant on the National Geographic show Ultimate Survival Alaska last year after more than 13,000 people signed a petition criticising the inclusion of the “heartless trophy hunter”.
Her lion tweet has provoked another angry backlash. One Twitter user, Gaye Davis, asked: “If it was beautiful why kill it?” Tim Flack, a South African, commented: “People like @MelissaBachman hunting lion in SA is everything that’s wrong with our hunting industry.”
A petition on Change.org urges the South African government to bar Bachman from the country. It says: “Melissa Bachman has made a career out of hunting wildlife for pure sport. 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.”
Supporters of hunting in South Africa argue that it raises funds from wealthy tourists which are then ploughed back into conservation efforts.
Lourens Mostert, game farm manager at the Maroi conservancy, confirmed that a lion was killed and said the hunt was legal. “If it isn’t right to hunt these lions, why does out 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.”
The barrage of criticism prompted Bachman to make her Twitter account private. Her personal bio reads: “I’ve been an avid hunter my entire life & now I’ve turned my passion into a career as a TV producer, host and writer. I’m a hardcore hunter doing what I love!”
This article was written by David Smith for the Guardian.