The hunter has become the hunted, as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) call for the man responsible for killing beloved Zimbabwean lion Cecil to be ‘hanged’.
There has been widespread outrage since it was revealed earlier this week US dentist Walter Palmer pulled the trigger in the controversial incident.
But PETA has taken it one step further.
PETA President Ingrid Newkirk told TIME in a statement today, Mr Palmer should be “extradited, charged, and, preferably, hanged”.
“Hunting is a coward’s pastime,” she said.
“If, as has been reported, this dentist and his guides lured Cecil out of the park with food so as to shoot him on private property, because shooting him in the park would have been illegal, he needs to be extradited, charged, and, preferably, hanged.”
Cecil the Lion was allegedly lured from the confines of the Hwange National Park and shot with a bow and arrow on July 1.
The beloved animal was described as “almost semi-domesticated” by a local safari operator.
Professional hunter Theo Bronkhurst and landowner Honest Trymore Ndlovu appeared in court in Zimbabwe on poaching charges yesterday and were released on bail.
Mr Palmer has become the target of public wrath, with a petition calling for him and others involved to be held to account reaching nearly 250,000 signatures in 24 hours.
The steps of Mr Palmer’s Minneapolis dentist’s practice have become littered with stuffed toy memorabilia, while protestors have also gathered to call for his extradition.
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton said he was “disgusted” by the killing.
Mr Palmer sent a letter to his patients explaining the situation, saying he “deeply regrets” the outcome, but insists – to the best of his knowledge – it was done legally.
“I’ve been a life-long hunter since I was a child growing up in North Dakota,” he wrote.
“I don’t often talk about hunting with my patients because it can be a divisive and emotionally charged topic. I understand and respect that not everyone shares the same views on hunting.
“To my knowledge, everything about this trip was legal and properly handled and conducted.”
He said he had not been contacted by Zimbabwean authorities, but would be willing to assist with any inquiries.
— Paul Blume (@PaulBlume_FOX9) July 29, 2015
— Alfie Deyes (@PointlessBlog) July 29, 2015