A 55-year-old Italian veterinarian, and avid hunter Luciano Ponzetto, died on Tuesday after slipping and falling 100 feet to his death.
Over the past year, Ponzetto had found himself at the business end of death threats and hate mail after posing for a picture with one of his kills last November. The photo was shared on the Safari Italian Chapter Facebook page – the group which organized the Tanzanian safari.
In fact, the backlash directed at Ponzetto was so terrible that some compared it to the infamous case of Zimbabwe’s Cecil the Lion — who was shot and killed by an American dentist in 2015.
Ponzetto was criticized especially harshly for being a veterinarian who hunts, but he maintained that the two were compatible.
However, after word of his passing spread, many people aggressively lashed out and actually scoffed at the loss of human life – while at the same time advocating the preservation of all animal life:
Luciano Ponzetto,who posed with lion he killed, has died after plummeting down a ravine, while shooting birds, Devine intervention, karma ??
— Nanny Sue (@nannysue_sue) December 13, 2016
Some said “he got what he deserved”:
While others hoped he endured pain before he died:
this has made my day ,hope he suffered
— lillyanne (@lillyannecullum) December 13, 2016
And one person actually said this…
According to Italy Magazine, Italy has one of the highest percentages of hunters per capita and “it’s [hunting] seen more as a way of life in Italy rather than a pastime”.
Unlike the “Cecil the Lion” situation, the lion Ponzetto posed with wasn’t a studied and well-known animal, and he didn’t violate any laws. But people who are morally opposed to hunting would not let it go, even after the veterinarian’s tragic death.
At the time of the accident, Ponzetto’s hunting partner told The Sun they had been trying to shoot wild birds when he slipped down the cliff:
“His body was recovered by helicopter and taken to a local hospital. He died instantly and there was nothing that could be done.”
Ponzetto had maintained his innocence throughout the public backlash, and telling his critics that he would always continue hunting… and that’s exactly what he did.