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Hunter Melissa Bachman Sparks Fury After Posing With Dead Lion (GRAPHIC PICTURES)

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Animal lovers are up in arms after a woman describing herself as a "hardcore huntress" posted images of herself holding a rifle and beaming as she posed with the body of a lion she had apparently just killed.

Melissa Bachman - whose open Facebook page also boasts images of her with numerous other dead trophies - wrote of the image: "An incredible day hunting in South Africa!! Stalked inside 60-yards on this beautiful male lion...what a hunt!"

The post adds the picture was taken at was at South Africa's Maroi Conservancy.

melissa bachman

Melissa Bachman sits astride the body of a lion at South Africa's Maroi Conservancy

Bachman's official website tells of a childhood of hunting and an early career in TV broadcasting and producing.

After travelling the world "filming a variety of incredible hunters", it adds Bachman "still longed for the day she could be the one squeezing the trigger."

Bachman's dreams came true and she now produces, writes and hunts on camera for her show Winchester Daily Passion.

melissa bachman

The images of Bachman posing with the lion were posted on 1 November but have gone viral in recent days, culminating in an online petition calling on the government of South Africa to deny her future entry to the country.

They were also tweeted, though Bachman appears to have since disabled her account - but not before animal-loving comedian Ricky Gervais made his feelings clear on the matter:

Close to 90,000 people have signed the Change.org document, which describes Bachman as "an absolute contradiction to the culture of conservation".

The letter, addressed to Mkuseli Apleni, director general of South Africa's Department of Home Affairs, Bomo Edna Molewa at the Ministry of Water and Environmental Affairs, and Lakela Kaunda from the private office of the president, adds: "Her latest Facebook post features her with a lion which she has just executed and murdered in our country.

"As tax payers we demand she no longer be granted access to this country and its natural resources."

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Bachman is no stranger to controversy - last year she was dropped from the National Geographic series Ultimate Survivor Alaska - after a petition blasted her for being a "contracted trophy killer".

The petition received more than 13,000 signatures in less than 24 hours.

There has been no response from Bachman on this latest petition as yet and the facility to contact her through her website was also disabled at time of press. HuffPo UK has contacted her via other means and we await her response.