Vancouver residents were only able to view a lewd Satan statue for a few hours before it was gone, but now a new petition is trying to bring it back.

The three-metre tall red, nude, anatomically-faithful figure that is flashing the devil's horns with one hand and touching his private parts with the other was first seen by a passerby Tuesday morning. It was visible to SkyTrain commuters in East Vancouver.

But as soon as jokes about the statue began appearing on social media, it was taken down by city officials because it was not officially commissioned.

Now, a lot of residents want it re-erected and more than 1,200 so far have signed an online petition.

The petition, started by Darryl Greer of Vancouver, says the city has a long history of investing in public art. For example, a porcelain dog cost the city $100,000.

"Just as some were offended by the price tag and substance of the porcelain dog, others may have been offended at the sight of Lucifer's Plastic Love Pump, but none would be offended at its price tag," reads the petition, which points out the Satan statue cost the city nothing. "Art is in the eye of the beholder and nothing more."

People from all over the world - including Ho Chi Minh City, Brussels, Helsinki, Brisbane and Toronto - have signed the petition.

"As a former resident of Vancouver I would love to see the city boast a piece of art that embraces male sexuality without turning down-cast eyes. It seems something our culture seems so afraid to do. Good going Vancouver," writes Michael Mills of Toronto.

"Artistic expression is an important cornerstone to free speech, and also this statue is hilarious and desperately needed in today's too-serious and conservative world," writes Kirk Hamilton from Edmonton.

A Vancouver art gallery and shop tweeted at the city to inquire about displaying the statue at the gallery.

The city tweeted back they are waiting for the rightful owner to collect it.

According to the City's public art registry, a statue of Christopher Columbus used to be in the park, but that was moved to another park years ago.