MANILA -- (UPDATE) Photos of former Ilocos Sur Governor Luis "Chavit" Singson with a lion he shot dead during a hunting expedition in South Africa are drawing flak online.
The photos, initially published in June on the website of the Philippine Times of Southern Nevada, show Singson posing beside a male lion and an antelope that he shot at the Kalahari Desert as he celebrated his birthday.
According to the report, Singson went to the Kalahari Desert, which extends 900,000 square kilometers and covers much of Botswana and parts of Namibia and South Africa, to hunt wild animals.
Singson, like all other hunters, waited for about a year to get his shooting license, it said.
"His hunting rifle took down a male lion and an antelope, highly valued targets. Needless to say, he couldn't be happier. His feats were celebrated in his birthday bash in Spear Safari, also in the savannah. An image of his prized catch is printed onto his cake, making the celebration go down in history as one of the most memorable," the report said.
On micro-blogging site Twitter, some netizens reacted negatively to the photos.
Meanwhile, an online petition at Change.org is asking Singson and his family to stop hunting wild ducks.
The petition, which has so far garnered over 600 signatures, started after photos of Singson and his daughter, Richelle, hunting wild ducks in Ilocos Sur went viral online early this month.
The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines said the Singsons have "shown a blatant disregard for our country's wildlife laws and the welfare of our wildlife by advocating the hunting of protected species and posting photos of their father-daughter hunting spree on Facebook and Instagram."
"We ask former Gov. Chavit Singson and his daughter Richelle Singson to stop promoting, advocating, and practicing hunting of Philippine wildlife. We hope they will instead promote the protection and conservation of wildlife and their habitat," the group said.
In report on Pep.ph, Singson defended his actions, saying hunting for animals is legal in Africa.
He also said the lion would have been hunted by others.
"Legal lahat. Gobyerno ang nagbibigay ng lisensiya. Kung hindi ko babarilin, babarilin rin ng iba," Singson explained.