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Johannesburg - Social media users have expressed outrage at the putting down of a lion that mauled a man who strayed too close to the big cat.

Shamba, the lion, was shot and killed after attacking its owner, Michael Hodge, at the weekend.

Users said the shooting of Shamba at the Marakele Predator Park, a private sanctuary, was tantamount to animal cruelty.

Read: WATCH: Wildlife park owner survives savage lion attack

Lion attack did not happen at our park, says SANParks

#RIPShamba was the number one item trending on Twitter on Wednesday and Thursday morning, with thousands of tweets posted.

[WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO]

Hodge is still recovering in hospital following the attack.

@Mxolwa_ wrote: “Shamba! Shamba! Shamba! The people who provoked you and made it out like you are the one who did (it) are here. Those ones who stole the land of your friends and killed you on it are here. You never told us how to treat them, Shamba. Give us a signal. #RIPShamba.”

An equally appalled @KingJay_ZA tweeted: “I don’t understand why Shamba was killed for doing what lions do. The guy didn’t even die. #RIPShamba.”

Some users said Shamba died fighting to get the land back, with some likening the lion to the late Struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who passed away a month ago.

@Ethekwini_EFF wrote on its Twitter page: “Rest in perfect peace Shamba. You played your role in the fight for land expropriation without compensation. We shall continue the fight. Our leader @Julius_S_Malema will pick up the spear and continue the good fight. Mufasa! #RIPShamba.”

@Musa7july wrote: “#RIPShamba Madikizela Qhawe! Nawe Sobukwe Qhawe! Shamba, Qhawe lama Qhawe. Rest in power Shamba!”

Other Twitter users demanded an official state funeral for Shamba and that flags must be flown at half mast during the “period of mourning”.

@NtlakazaZuko said: “On behalf of the office of the presidency @CyrilRamaphosa and @MYANC, we would like to declare that Shamba will be honoured with a state funeral. Condolences to the family and friends of this icon. #RIPShamba.”

Users also wanted an airport or university or the Kruger National Park to be named after Shamba, as the outrage drifted to the humorous side.

They also wanted a “signal” from Shamba on how to deal with his killers.

EFF leader Julius Malema trended last month after speaking at Madikizela-Mandela’s funeral and asking her to give him a “signal” on how to deal with ANC Women’s League executives who apparently resigned from the league when she was president.

“Ma, I’m waiting for a signal on how we should treat them,” said Malema.

Even DJ Tira had something to say: “Can I compose a song in respect of Shamba #RIPShamba.”

The Star