A notorious hunter, who sparked worldwide fury for posting photos of him next to a lion he had killed, died after falling 100ft (30 meters) down a ravine while hunting world birds.
Vet Luciano Ponzetto, 55-year-old, received death threats and hate mail for posting images of his trophy kills on social media. On one of the photos, he posed next to a lion he had shot.
He had angered animal lovers on the internet by posing smiling next to a lifeless lion.
Ponzetto insisted that he had done nothing wrong. But the controversy forced him to step down as a medical director of an animal kennel after being slammed for shooting the lion despite working with animals.
Protesting his innocence, he said:
“I know that I have done nothing wrong.”
“I am being criticised by people who do not know me, I have always loved my work, and I have always loved animals. I will carry on hunting until the law changes.”
According to officials, the vet was hunting with friends when he accidentally slipped on ice and fell down the ravine at Colle delle Oche in hills above the Italian city of Turin.
An Italian police spokesperson, confirming his death, said:
“We were called by the mountain rescue services who had been alerted to the incident by someone who was out with him.”
“His body was recovered by helicopter and taken to a local hospital.”
“It looks like he slipped and fell when he was out hunting. He died instantly, and there was nothing that could be done.”
Before his tragic death, he had previously threatened to take legal action against the people who had sent death threats to him.
And his spokesperson had reported that he’d sue the media that picked up on the story, claiming it was ruining his reputation and the incident wasn’t in the public interest.
Ponzetto repeatedly defended his actions arguing that being a vet is “not incompatible with hunting, either morally or professionally.”
After the tragic accident that resulted in his instant death, social media users picked up Ponzetto’s incident, describing it as “Karma.”
One person wrote:
“I don’t quite see how this man could have worked as a vet and then happily gone out and killed animals. He should have had more respect.”
When the photo of Ponzetto and the lion first appeared on the internet, it was compared to the incidence of legendary Cecil, the lion who was shot dead by an American dentist in Zimbabwe in 2015.