Photos of a Kentucky woman posing with a black giraffe that she killed on a hunt last year have sparked outrage after an African news outlet shared the story.
South Africa-based AfricLand Post shared photos of a woman they identified as Tess Thompson Talley kneeling beside the slain animal with her gun in hand. In a second picture, she smiles and points towards the sky.
“White american savage who is partly a neanderthal comes to Africa and shoot down a very rare black giraffe coutrsey of South Africa stupidity. Her name is Tess Thompson Talley. Please share,” the media outlet captioned the June 16 post on Twitter.
In a follow-up tweet, they added, “If our so called governments can’t care for our wildlife then its time we stand up and responsibility of our continent, lands, resources and wildlife….share share share! and lets have a united voice against pillage of Africa, it’s the only home we have.”
According to USA Today, Talley shared the pictures from the June 2017 hunting trip on her Facebook page.
“Prayers for my once in a lifetime dream hunt came true today!” she wrote in the since-deleted post. “Spotted this rare black giraffe bull and stalked him for quite awhile. I knew it was the one. He was over 18 years old, 4,000 lbs and was blessed to be able to get 2,000 lbs of meat from him.”
Talley defended the kill in a statement to Today.
“This is called conservation through game management,” she said.
The hunter also claimed that being a woman put her at the receiving end of the backlash.
“For all the people wishing death or even threatening death to me, this does nothing positive for your ‘movement,’ it only shows the world how lopsided your priorities are,” Talley said. “The very same picture could have been posted, and are posted daily, of men with their trophies and not a word is said.”
She continued, “It is by far women that hunt who catch more grief from the ‘tolerant’ and ‘all loving’ animal rights activists. It’s sickening to the majority of people how women are treated all over the world, except in the case of women hunters. You people call yourselves compassionate and caring, yet some of the most vile things have been directed at me and many other women hunters.”
Debra Messing and Ricky Gervais were among the critics to slam Talley on social media, with the actress calling the hunter a “disgusting, vile, amoral, heartless, selfish murderer.”
“I am disgusted by people like you Tess,” Messing said on Instagram. “You reek of privilege and ignorance. Shame on you. And your husband Andrew Claude. Unconscionable. Irreparable damage. Irreplaceable beauty.”
Gervais tweeted, “Giraffes are now on the ‘red list’ of endangerment due to a 40% decline over the last 25 years. They could become extinct. Gone forever. And still, we allow spoilt c— to pay money to shoot them with a bow and arrow for fun.”
However, Julian Fennessy, Ph.D., co-founder of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation told Yahoo Lifestyle that the animal is not “rare” or endangered.
“The giraffe in the photo is of the South African species Giraffa giraffe, which are not rare – they are increasing in the wild,” he said. “Legal hunting of giraffe is not a reason for their decline, despite the moral and ethical side of it, which is a different story.”
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