French safari hunt outcry forces supermarket bosses to resign

  • Published
File pic of lion in South AfricaImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Conservationists fear lions will die out in South Africa by 2050

A couple who ran a supermarket in a small town in eastern France have lost their jobs after their trophy pictures from a safari hunt went viral.

The 2015 pictures show the couple posing over a dead hippopotamus, zebra, leopard and lion.

The Super U co-operative group's store in the Rhône town of L'Arbresle had seen calls for a shop boycott widely shared on Facebook.

The group announced the couple were leaving with immediate effect.

The shop, north-east of Lyon, was closed on Wednesday after the co-operative group announced the resignations. The couple involved have not commented on their departure or on the criticism on social media.

"In the face of condemnation provoked by these actions at the heart of the co-operative and the legitimate public feeling, the store managers have decided to quit immediately the brand and their l'Arbresle store," the group announced.

The co-operative's values were diametrically opposed to the private activities of safari hunting and to the photos that had been published, it insisted.

One poster on Facebook who had called for a boycott of the store appealed to the public not to threaten staff as they had nothing to do with the issue. The couple's faces were also disguised:


Posted by Laurent Guillaumont on Thursday, July 4, 2019
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original post on Facebook

"It's a shame we know Super U purely for its 30% reductions on fresh food, when they also have 100% rotten managers," one poster named anymal complained.

However it was not until the story began circulating on Twitter that the issue went viral.

The hunt pictures were featured on a big game safari website specialising in hunts in KwaZulu Natal in South Africa and Tanzania which includes testimony from one of the two managers describing their safari.

Media caption,
Why big game hunting is big business in South Africa

Prices for various trophies are listed on the site, including $7,150 (£5,725; €6,370) for a leopard and $3,399 for a hippo.

The cause was taken up by animal rights foundation 30 Millions d'Amis, which recalled the 2015 case of a lion shot by a bow and arrow by an American dentist in a Zimbabwean national park.

The American had paid a reported $50,000 to hunt the lion and the outrage on social media prompted a wave of abuse directed at the man involved.

The foundation complained that some 8,000 lions had been bred for slaughter in the past decade in South Africa, and yet the country had seen a 90% drop in lion numbers in a century, with fears the animal could disappear by 2050.