A BRITISH hunter has come out in defence of a Canadian couple who caused an uproar after photographing themselves kissing next to the lifeless body of a lion they killed.
Carl Knight has said hunting is not akin to a Disney film and instead blamed “armchair conservationists” for sensationalising the widespread ‘sport’ of trophy hunting.
Earlier this week, Darren and Carolyn Carter posted a shocking image kissing over the corpse of a lion they killed.
The confronting photo led to swift backlash from animal rights activists.
But Mr Knight, 45, has backed the profession, which sees people kill large and often endangered species for fun while claiming it as a sport.
He justified the act to Express.co.uk, saying: “Why do we have to answer to your armchair conservationist readers that know nothing about Africa.
“This lion was bred for hunting and for lion bore export to the Far East.”
He then made a bizarre reference to Disney’s The Lion King, adding: “This is not Mufasa or Cecil, this is an animal that was farmed like a cow, a sheep or a crocodile hat is farmed for meat and skin.”
This is not Mufasa or Cecil, this is an animal that was farmed like a cow…”
Hunter Carl Knight
Mr Knight claimed that as the lion was not wild, it’s death would not impact on population numbers for the species.
He continued to justify: “The money these clients paid for this lion is much needed in poverty-stricken Southern Africa.”
Numbers of lions have recently dropped to shocking lows as some 1,000 of the animals are killed every year.
Mr Knight is thought to be the only known British hunter who has boasted of killing Africa’s “Big Five” at-risk species.
The 45-year-old runs Take Aim Safari, a tour company which offers clients the chance to kill African animals.
He claims his business has not been harmed by bad press and argued that media sensationalism is instead de-sensitising members of the public.
The tour operator who hosted the Canadian couple also shared the their snap of the lion, alongside the caption: “Hard work in the hot Kalahari sun… well done. A monster lion.”
Legelela Safari provides its participants with firearms permits and weapons to kill animals from as little as £159.
Giraffe hunts are available for £2,400, zebras from £2,000, with prices for leopard, rhino, lion and elephant hunts available “on request”.
Data from the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation said that hunting companies only contribute 3 per cent of revenue to hunting communities.
Meanwhile, elephant populations have fallen from 1.3million to 400,000, while the number of giraffes have been slashed by 40 per cent over the past 30 years.
As many as 1.7 million trophies – parts of hunted animals stuffed or mounted for souvenirs – were legally traded between 2004 and 2014.
About 200,000 were from threatened species – of which 2,500 were brought home by British hunters.
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