Americans Kill Hundreds Of Lions Each Year, For Fun

<p><a href="" target="_blank">Facebook/White Lion Safari</a></p>
<p><a href="" target="_blank">Facebook/White Lion Safari</a></p>

The needless killing of a famed African lion named Cecil by a dentist from Minnesota has sent shockwaves across the globe. But what's more alarming than his callousness in taking the life of iconic animals overseas for fun? Just how many other American tourists are proud to have done the same.

Warning: Graphic Photos Below

Cara from West Virginia:

According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, every year an estimated 600 lions are slaughtered for sport - and 64 percent of those are killed by American trophy hunters.

In fact, a simple Google search for the term "lion hunting safari" returns no shortage of links to websites offering package tours catered for Americans eager to the beloved big cats. These sites, and on associated Facebook fan pages, are filled with photos of people posed alongside lions they've killed.

Ben from Georgia:

Safari operators make little effort to couch their gory offerings as some rugged tradition. The lives of animals are instead presented as if on a menu, with daily hunting rates and trophy fees: baboon $300, giraffe $5,500, white lion female $8,990, white lion male $26,000.

Shooting iconic species doesn't come cheap, but there's apparently no shortage of people willing to pay.

Dennis from Michigan:

Safari operators often defend the practice of hunting lions as a means of funding conservation and benefiting local communities, but critics say those claims are largely fictitious. Not surprisingly, lions are in decline in areas where trophy hunting is permitted, leading to fears of their looming extinction.

In the last 21 years alone, the total number of lions has plummeted by 42 percent.

Josh from West Virginia:

Dana and Zachary from Texas: