Last month, an American dentist in Zimbabwe hunted, shot, skinned and beheaded a lion named Cecil, leaving the rest of his mangled body to rot in the scorching sun.
And these horrendous acts of brutality were committed by the hands of one man, Walter Palmer from Minnesota, USA.
Allegedly paying a local park guide, Theo Brinkhorst, $50,000 to lure the iconic lion out of Hwange National Park, Palmer then wounded the magnificent animal with a crossbow, mercilessly tracking him for around 40 hours before fatally shooting him with a rifle.
Understandably so, the needless killing of the protected and innocent animal provoked global outrage, drawing media attention from all around the world and triggering a relentless man-hunt for Palmer. Back in his native America, the media unleashed a tirade of furious accusations, calling him an "American psycho incarnate," forcing the dentist to abandon his dental practice and even go into hiding.
And it wasn't just the Zimbabwean authorities, or the animal conservationists, who publicly and aggressively condemned the barbaric killing of Cecil. A hoard of celebrities also expressed their anger at the unjust slaughter of a helpless animal at the hands of the despised US dentist.
Let's take a look at what some of them had to say:
1. Olivia Wilde
The actress was beyond horrified that people could be so careless:
2. Ian Somerhalder
No stranger to decapitating the odd vamp in his role on The Vampire Diaries, Ian was almost left speechless when he heard the news of Cecil's death:
3. Jimmy Kimmel
The late night TV host tried to fight back the tears as he pleaded with his viewers to make "good come out of this disgusting tragedy." He addressed Palmer:
"Is it that difficult for you to get an erection that you need to kill things that are stronger than you? If that’s the case, they have a pill for that; it works great."
Take a look at what he had to say in full here:
4. Arnold Schwarzenegger
Naturally, Arnie also added his voice to the condemnation by posting this bold image on Instagram:
He captioned the post:
Stop killing big cats. Killing a lion isn't ballsy. Going into the octagon or joining the military - that's ballsy. Try that before you kill a lion. Protecting big cats = ballsy.
And proved to be the inspiration we had all been waiting for:
5. Sharon Osbourne
Sharon's Twitter rampage made it crystal clear how she felt about the situation:
6. Ricky Gervais
The British comedian lamented the terrible slaughter of the gorgeous animal:
7. Cara Delevingne
Suicide Squad star Cara also couldn't hold back in expressing her horror at what Palmer had done:
8. Debra Messing
Debra was so outraged that she called for Walter's US citizenship to be taken away:
9. Judd Apatow
Judd put it plainly:
10. Mandy Moore
Mandy rightly came down hard on trophy hunting, calling it a repulsive hobby to engage in for sport:
A torrent of rage against big-game trophy collectors
Indeed, the terrible Cecil incident has highlighted the horrendous problem of poaching and the unashamed slaughtering of innocent animals in our society.
And the hostility is not only directed at Walter Palmer. Since the revelations that he inhumanely killed the lion last month, big-game trophy collectors all over have been under fire.
In particular, a barrage of abuse has also been directed at Sabrina Corgatelli. The accountant for Idaho State University first drew attention to herself by posting a series of photos onto her Facebook that showed her bragging about her various kills, including a warthog, impala and a wildebeest. In another image, she triumphantly stood with the carcass of a giraffe wrapped around her:
She captioned the image:
Day 2 I got an amazing old Giraffe. Such an amazing animal!!! I couldn’t be happier.
For many, images such as these are just the tip of the iceberg.
Poachers and recreational hunters all over the world continue to fail to recognize the immorality of killing innocent, often protected, animals. Especially when, in the case of Sarah's "trophy," it's an animal that isn't even a dangerous predator, but a passive plant-eater that wishes humans no harm.
Indeed, debates continue to rage, and as they do, I think Ricky Gervais continues to hit the nail on the head with his most recent tweet: