A number of Crusaders rugby players have found themselves in the gun after pictures of them posing with dead big game animals were splashed on Facebook.

Pictures of Tom Taylor, Sam and George Whitelock, Tyler Bleyendaal and Ben Funnell were posted on the Landmark Foundation's Facebook page two days ago.

The pictures show the players proudly posing with the dead animals but have already provoked criticism from the foundation - a conservation non-government organisation that promotes conservation land uses.

Next trending article: Actions of Air New Zealand jets unsettle eyewitness


Its leopard and predator project was established in response to human-predator conflict on farms in South Africa

Among the dead animals are a zebra, a blesbok, a gemsbok and an eland.

Its Facebook page reads: "When New Zealand rugby players have free time in South Africa, see what they get up to."

"Here are the Crusaders rugby players killing wildlife for laughs on a recent visit to South Africa."