Luciano Ponzetto fell 100 feet down a ravine last week while hunting birds with a group of friends just outside the Italian city of Turin last week.
The Sun quotes Italian police as saying that “He died instantly and there was nothing that could be done,” The Italian police spokesman 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 insisted he had done nothing wrong but the controversy forced him to step down as the medical director of a kennel business after being slammed for shooting the lion despite working with animals.
Italian authorities say Ponzetto, reportedly just back from a successful big game hunting trip to Canada, was out hunting with his friends for wild birds to eat, when he slipped on ice and fell down the ravine at Colle delle Oche in hills above the Italian city of Turin.
The Turin based veterinarian, sparked outrage last year when he posted photos of himself grinning next to a lion he killed in Tanzania. Other photos on his social media accounts showed him smiling as he held a dead jaguar, proudly gazing at a slain ram and cocking a gun as he crouched next to a slaughtered warthog.
Ponzetto received death threats, and animal activists protested outside his veterinarian clinic with signs that read, “Paid to save lives, he gets off on killing”.
He insisted he had done nothing wrong but was forced him to step down as the medical director of a kennel business.
A grinning Ponzetto poses next to a lion he killed in Tanzania.
He was widely compared to American hunter, Walter Palmer. The Minnesota dentist created a stir among animal right activists when he shot and killed Zimbabwe’s famous feline, Cecil the lion, during a hunting trip last summer.
Ponzetto who had angered animal lovers by similarly posing smiling next to a lion he had shot and then uploading it onto his Facebook page, defended his passion for hunting saying his work as a veterinarian was “not incompatible with hunting, either morally or professionally.”
He lashed out at critics: “I know that I have done nothing wrong.
“I am being criticized by people who do not know me, I have always loved my work and I have always loved animals.
He insisted that all of his hunts were legal and vowed he would continue:“I will carry on hunting until the law changes.”
Italy’s Veterinarians’ Guild said that since he had the proper permits and followed hunting laws, it did not have the power to take punitive action against him.
Ponzetto was adamant he would continue hunting big game until the laws are changed
Ponzetto and several of his friends were chasing birds on Saturday when he slipped and fell down a ravine. Mountain rescue teams found his body about 100 feet below from where he fell.
His critics celebrated his death on social media, deeming the mid-hunt demise nothing but good karma.
“Now its never nice to laugh at the deceased, or wish death upon anyone.. but .. sometimes,” one Twitter user wrote.
“Bye bye #LucianoPonzetto,” another wrote. “What goes around comes around.”