A Canadian couple have caused widespread revulsion after posing for a photo with the corpse of a lion they shot during a "canned hunt" in Africa.

Darren and Carolyn Carter from Alberta were hunting in South Africa with Legelela Safaris when they shot and killed at least two lions.

The couple, who work as taxidermists and describe themselves as "passionate conservationists", were so taken with their kill that they kissed while kneeling over the body of one male lion.

The photo was shared by the safari company online with the caption: "Hard work in the hot Kalahari sun...well done. A monster lion."

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The image was later removed after the couple were targeted by online abuse.

The UK's Daily Mirror used the photo to launch a campaign against trophy hunting. Photo / Supplied
The UK's Daily Mirror used the photo to launch a campaign against trophy hunting. Photo / Supplied

The shocking image was front page news in the UK, where the Daily Mirror launched a campaign to see imports of hunted animals banned in an effort to stifle the growing big game hunting industry.

Contacted by the Mirror, Darren Carter said: "We aren't interested in commenting on that at all. It's too political."

Other photos shared by the safari company include an image of the Carters posing with the body of a rare white lion.

The Carters pose with a rare white lion. Photo / Supplied
The Carters pose with a rare white lion. Photo / Supplied

The response online was fierce, with comments threatening the Canadian couple with a similar fate to the hunted lions and labelling them "sick" and "disgusting".

Others saw the photo as a telling commentary on humans as a species, adding: "This is why aliens don't come to visit."

Eduardo Goncalves, the founder of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting, told the Mirror that he believed the lions were captive and bred for the purpose of being killed by hunters.

"This couple should be utterly ashamed of themselves, not showing off and snogging for the cameras."

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