The backlash against the celebrity hunter's South Africa kill intensifies with an internet petition
Critics of celebrity hunter Melissa Bachman might not quite be calling for her head and demanding that it be mounted on a wall — but it's getting close.
The internet is roaring with protests against Bachman after a photo of her striking a smiling pose with a dead lion spread online.
A change.org online petition slamming Bachman has amassed more than 282,000 signatures, asking that she be banned from South Africa.
“Melissa Bachman has made a career out of hunting wildlife, for pure sport,” the petition, started by Cape Town resident Elan Burman, reads. “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.”
Meanwhile, the Facebook group Stop Melissa Bachman has collected more than 160,000 “likes.”
“Stop Trophy Hunting,” the group's Facebook page implores. “Stop the murder of wildlife for the sport. Stop Melissa Bachman and people like her from pulling the trigger.”
Bachman, the host of “Winchester Deadly Passion, ” posted the photo on her Twitter account Nov. 1, writing, ‘An incredible day hunting in South Africa! Stalked inside 60-yards on this beautiful male lion…what a hunt!”
The kill took place during a guided hunt sponsored by the Maroi Conservancy, which defended its hunts as “ethical” in a post on the organization's Facebook page on Saturday.
“We are not apologizing for facilitating the hunt. As for all the negative commentary towards us, please consider how much you have contributed to conservation in the past 5 years,” the post reads. “If you are not a game farmer and struggling with dying starving animals, poaching and no fences in place to protect your animals and crop, please refrain from making negative derogatory comments.”
According to Maroi, Bachman had a lion on her “wish list” for the hunt. Though lions don't naturally reside on Maroi, the conservancy said that it contacted an outfitter to elsewhere and facilitated the lion hunt.
Maroi said that it “did not benefit financially” from the hunt.
Bachman has felt the sting of internet protest before. Last year, the National Geographic Channel pulled the huntress from its series “Ultimate Survival Alaska” after an anti-Bachman petition was filed online.