Hunting under fire

Lion hunter becomes the hunted in barrage of criticism

Hardcore huntress: The photograph of a smiling Melissa Bachman and the slain lion that has outraged people around the world. Photo: Twitter
art-melissa-20bachman-620x349.jpg

An American television presenter has prompted outrage after boasting online that she killed a lion in South Africa.

Melissa Bachman, a keen hunter who produces programs on the American outdoors, posted a photograph on Facebook and Twitter of her holding a rifle and smiling beside the corpse of a male lion.

''Incredible day in South Africa,'' the self-styled ''hardcore huntress'' said of her pursuits at the Maroi Conservancy. ''Stalked inside 60 yards on this beautiful male lion - what a hunt!''

A furious online reaction led Bachman to deactivate her Facebook and Twitter pages within hours. 

It also prompted an online petition asking the South African government to bar her from returning.

''She is an absolute contradiction to the culture of conservation this country prides itself on,'' said Elan Burman, of Cape Town, the author of the petition that quickly gathered 3000 signatures.

''You, lady, are what is wrong with the world,'' said Richard Robinson of Maryland, who was among the signatories.

''Take with no consequences. Shoot, kill, consume, destroy.

''You didn't kill a lion, you stood behind a machine and pulled a little trigger, you pathetic, sad excuse of a human.''

While the African lion is rated ''vulnerable'' on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List, it is not officially an endangered species and hunting them is legal in a number of countries, including South Africa.

''The main threats to lions are indiscriminate killing,'' the organisation said.

The photograph was in keeping with Bachman's past activities.

Her official website displays pictures of her posing beside dead alligators, turkeys, moose, geese and bears, among other quarry.

She was axed as a contestant on the National Geographic program Ultimate Survival Alaska last year after 13,000 people signed a petition protesting against the inclusion of a ''heartless trophy hunter''.

Bachman could not be contacted for comment.

The most recent study on lion numbers, led by a scientist from Duke University in the United States, shows that as few as 32,000 are left in the wild, which makes hunting a controversial issue, particularly in Africa.

Supporters say it brings in money to communities and can help to reduce illegal poaching.

But critics say it is a cruel practice that brings in little revenue to local people.

Last year, Botswana banned all commercial hunting of wild animals, and Zambia outlawed all hunting of lions and leopards from January.

''Tourists come to Zambia to see the lion, and if we lose the lion we will be killing our tourism industry,'' said the country's Tourism and Arts Minister, Sylvia Masebo.

Telegraph, London

Sorce: The Sunday Morning Herald

 

 

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