Melissa Bachman, a professional hunter, sparked a huge public outrage when she posted a picture on Facebook and Twitter flaunting her most recent game: a male lion she shot in South Africa.

Melissa Bachman Kills Lion For Sport

The photo shows Bachman kneeling beside an enormous, dead, lion, smiling and holding a gun by her side.

Appalled by the photo, a South African resident Elan Burman created a petition in an effort to get South African officials to deny Bachman from ever returning to South Africa.

“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… we demand she no longer be granted access to this country and its natural resources,” reads the petition.

Ricky Gervais Attacks Bachman Via Twitter

The petition currently has 366,591 signatures and has a very vocal celebrity supporter in Ricky Gervais. The famed British comedian, known for pushing boundaries, re-tweeted Bachman’s original photo, insulting Bachman on Nov. 14.

Three days later, Gervais took to Twitter again to advocate for animals and protest against animal cruelty writing, “Animals are not here for us to do as we please with. We are not their superiors, we are their equals. We are their family. Be kind to them.”

Gervais has continued to tweet about the photo steadily since then.

Bachman Hunt Was Legal

The Maroi Conservancy, a company that facilitated the hunt and owns 8500 hectares of land populated by various animals naturally, has released a statement regarding the controversy surrounding Bachman’s recent hunting trip. They maintain that Bachman’s hunt was carried out completely within official regulations and that she had all the permits required by Nature Conservation to carry out the hunt.

“All documentation were in place for this hunt eg permits etc as required by Nature Conservation. The lion was not drugged or enclosed in a camp. It was free roaming on more than 2000 hectares. Melissa is a professional hunter and in no way is she involved in dubious practices,” Maroi Conservancy wrote.

Despite these claims, the backlash following Bachman’s recent South African hunt continues.

The African lion, though not yet classified as an endangered species, is currently “vulnerable,” and, according to a report by the Huffington Post, killing a prime male lion, such as the one Bachman shot and killed, could result in the death of an entire generation of lions.

“Prime male lions – the most sought after trophies – guard their females from pride takeovers by strange males. Takeovers are catastrophic to lionesses because victorious incoming males kill any cubs belonging to the previous pride males,” explains executive vice president of conservation group Panthera, Dr. Luke Hunter.

Bachman, a professional hunter, stars in a television series Winchester’s Deadly Passions, which chronicles her various hunting travels.

Bachman has yet to respond to the controversy or the petition.

Olivia Truffaut-Wong

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