Meanwhile other killers of animals for pleasure are facing widespread disgust, condemnation, censure and calls for their punishment after Walter Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota, paid more than £30,000 to impale a tagged national park lion in Zimbabwe with a crossbow. The animal, well-known to tourists as Cecil, was only wounded by the impalement and had to be tracked for two days before being killed with rifles, skinned and then beheaded so that Palmer could take a trophy back to America.

Since the senseless killing, other brave American hunters have been exposed, including Jan Seski, the director of gynaecologic oncology at Allegheny Hospital, Pittsburg, who has also impaled a lion and several elephants with a crossbow in Zimbabwe, and Sabrina Corgatelli, a senior accountant from Idaho University who proudly posts pictures of herself in South Africa with dead giraffes and other animals on her website, with comments about the extreme happiness she feels after making the kills.

Following all the bad publicity a number of airlines have belatedly banned the shipment of animal trophies, including American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta and Emirates.

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