A harrowing video of the moment a hunter shoots and kills a sleeping lion in the wild has swept social media.
DailyMail.com can reveal the shooter has been identified as Guy Gorney, 64, of Manhattan, Illinois.
The clip, which is believed to have been recorded in Zimbabwe in 2011, was posted by the Twitter account @Protect_Wldlife on Monday.
‘This “hunter” sneaked up on a SLEEPING #Lion and killed it! How brave, how sporting – HOW C**TISH!!!,’ the tweet which included the video read, prompting thousands of responses in outrage over the spectacle.
In an interview from 2015 with CBS, Gorney showed no remorse for his ‘hunting’ habit, which at that time included killing 70 big game animals, such as elephant, lion, leopard, rhino and buffalo.
‘I have a hard time understanding, if you have a picture of somebody with a deer, nobody seems to care. But if it’s an elephant, it’s a big problem. If it’s a lion – especially now – it’s a huge problem, Gorney said at the time.
‘But to me, either way, I’ve stopped a beating heart.’
DailyMail.com reached out to Gorney who has not yet returned our message.
At the current rate of lion hunting and poaching, the majestic animals could go extinct by the year 2050, according to the African Wildlife Foundation.
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
The video shows Gorney pointing a rifle at a sleeping lion while he’s being coached to shoot.
The hunter fires one shot, and awakes the lion, which arches its back in pain and looks around at where the attack has come from.
Before the lion can understand the assault against it, the hunter fires a second and third shot.
The person guiding Gorney then tells him to stop, saying, ‘OK, OK, don’t do any more.’
The guide then shakes Gorney’s hand and says, ‘That, Mr. [inaubible], is a very nice lion.’
‘A very nice lion,’ the guide continues, while laughing and patting Gorney on the back.
The clip then cuts to the guide prodding the lion with the butt of the rifle to ensure it’s dead, saying again, ‘Very nice lion,’ while shaking the shooter’s hand once more.
‘Beautiful,’ the guide says, as the video shows a closeup of the lifeless animal’s face.
‘That is an exceptional lion,’ the guide says.
The account which shared the video is an animal rights advocacy account, based in the United Kingdom, according to the information on the page.
‘I am an advocate for wildlife,’ the biography reads.
‘I expose animal abuse and abusers wherever they are. I will NEVER stop fighting for better animal rights and welfare.’
Many users responded to the footage, which was also shared by an account listed as belonging to ‘Danny Smith’ under username ‘@doglab.’
Several called out the cowardice of attacking the wild animal at rest.
‘A sleeping lion, wow what a big man! [angry, cursing face emoji],’ wrote one user.
Many expressed objection over trophy hunting, in general, regardless of whether the animal was asleep at the time of its killing.
‘This is not hunting, or sport…it’s murder #stoptrophyhunting #Fightforyourworld.’ user @verdiKate wrote.
‘Even if it was awake, the Poor Animal Shouldn’t be Killed AT ALL!!!!!!!!!!! EVIL B*****D!!!!!!!!!! [various emojis],’ wrote another user.
Others suggested penalties for the actions of Gorney as shown in the video.
‘In my book that should be 5 years in jail. Grotesque,’ one user wrote.
Another still called for a punishment in kind, replying, ‘More like fed 2 a pride of lions & eaten alive.’
In an interview in 2015, Gorney addressed violent reactions to trophy hunting by pointing out he can defend himself.
‘I don’t see the logic of making a physical threat against somebody who’s proficient with firearms and wouldn’t hesitate to defend himself or his family,’ he said. ‘It’s like, are you insane?’
His current profile photo on Facebook shows him straddling a dead lion in the same outfit that he’s wearing in the video where he kills the sleeping lion, ‘in the Chewore river bed’ of Zimbabwe, according to the caption.
He said he’s thought about taking it down, although it’s been up since 2011.
‘I’d thought about taking it down and using [it]. You know, nobody’s going to care about me with a deer, for example. But I really have a problem changing my behavior over people that are just over the top,’ he said in 2015.
At that time he also said he hunts as a means of preserving wild animal population, although clearly not for the animals he’s killing.
‘You can say, “Why’d you shoot a lion?” I love zebra, so shooting a lion probably saves 70 zebra a year, give or take. There’s all these kinds of balances in nature,’ he said.
Gorney is also heard in a video from an ‘open mic night’ at the Book and Bean Cafe on May 3, 2018 talking about killing a lion which had hurt people.
He said he’s done the same with a buffalo that injured a human.
‘When I killed that buffalo that had hurt somebody, the people that had benefited from the death of that animal cheered. Clapped,’ he said.
‘The “why” is just the – I call it the adventure of it. Same reason Teddy Roosevelt did it.’
As for elephants, he said he considers it a challenge.
‘I like pitting myself against these animals. And what greater trophy than an elephant?’ he said.
‘I really like hunting elephants. They’re difficult to track down. They’re incredibly dangerous. The first elephant I got, I walked over 120 miles tracking elephants before I actually caught up to him and found him.’