French supermarket managers hunted out of job over safari pictures

Hunting scene near Koster in South Africa in June 2015.
Hunting scene near Koster in South Africa in June 2015. Copyright REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
By Vincent Costetranslated by Alice Tidey
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Pictures of the couple proudly posing rifles in hand with wild animals they had just slaughtered — including a lion, a leopard and a zebra — were shared on social media last week.


Two managers of a French supermarket have resigned after photos resurfaced showing them posing with wild animals they killed on safari hunts.

The couple, who managed a Super U in Arbresle near Lyon, was criticised by animal rights activists after the pictures appeared last Thursday. 

The images showed them with slaughtered wild animals: lions, hippopotamus, alligators, leopards, ostriches and zebras all feature on their kill list.

These "unearthed" photos come, in part, from a safari organised by a South African company in 2014. The couple appears, in the middle of other participants, on many photographs.

Other images come from an interview given in 2016 by the wife to a website dedicated to the world of hunting. The article in question is currently unavailable.

Super U first responded to the controversy on Monday, writing on Twitter that they understand that the "elements recently posted on social media may have hurt people" and adding that it "firmly dissociates itself from these practices which go against the values we defend and our commitment".

But with the "bad buzz" continuing to swirl on social media, the brand eventually announced on Tuesday afternoon that the couple "have decided to immediately leave" the supermarket.

"New management is being put in place," it added. To help the transition, the supermarket was closed on Wednesday but is scheduled to re-open on Thursday.

"We are totally opposed to private safari hunting activities by our associates," Super U also stressed.

Although decried, the hunting of wild animals, even threatened with extinction, is legal in certain African countries like Zimbabwe, Namibia or South Africa. Highly supervised, these hunting safaris are reserved to a wealthy clientele. Different formulas exist, from the "all-inclusive" package — costing up to $100,000 (€89,000) — to an "à la carte" hunt where prices range $100 (€89) for a baboon to over $ 40,000 (€35,500) for an elephant.

Recreational hunting of big game has, in the past, triggered many controversies, like the former King of Spain, Juan Carlos, who spent thousands of euros shooting elephants in Botswana in 2012. Another scandal also erupted in 2015 after the death of "Cecil" the lion killed by an American hunter.

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