A Spruce Grove husband and wife are facing fierce online backlash after a British tabloid published a photo of the couple kissing over the carcass of a lion they had apparently shot on safari in Africa. 

The image of Darren and Carolyn Carter posing with the dead animal was initially posted to the Facebook page of a South African company, Legelela Safaris. The couple operate Solitude Taxidermy under the slogan "bring your trophy back to life." 

The photo was later republished by the U.K.'s Daily Mirror as part of its call to ban trophy hunting and began circulating widely on social media soon after. 

CTV News has been unable to independently verify the image as the company has since deleted the photo along with its Facebook page. Online, the couple describe themselves as avid hunters and tweeted last month that they were on a safari in South Africa. 

"You can't be conserving animals while killing them," said Karin Nelson with the animal advocacy group Voice for Animals. "It just does not make sense."

The image has sparked social media scorn with some attacks on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter bordering on death threats. 

"As angry as people can be, it's counterproductive to be threatening and violent," said Nelson. 

The Carters and Solitude Taxidermy did not return calls and text messages from CTV News seeking comment.

 A similar backlash emerged after the 2015 killing of Cecil the lion by a Minnesota dentist.

In Canada, B.C. ended its grizzly bear hunt in December of 2017.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Bill Fortier