Another case of “trophy hunt” outrage swept across the internet recently, this time over the death of a suppossedly “very rare black giraffe."
In June 2017, a woman identified as Tess Thompson Talley posed with a black giraffe that she had killed, stating,
“Prayers for my once in a lifetime dream hunt came true today!”
Originally posted on Facebook, she has since deleted the image, which went on to explain the giraffe was “over 18 years old, 4,000 lbs, and was blessed to be able to get 2,000 lbs of meat from him.”
In a statement to USA Today, she defended the hunt, calling it “conservation through game management.” When the negative response grew volatile, Talley felt there was another issue at hand.
“The very same picture could have been posted, and are posted daily, of men with their trophies and not a word is said. It is by far women that hunt who catch more grief from the ‘tolerant’ and ‘all loving’ animal rights activists.”
She continued by saying,
“You people call yourselves compassionate and caring, yet some of the most vile things have been directed at me and many other women hunters.”
There’s no real statistic to determine if women hunters get the worst of the backlash. There have been some well publicized incidents involving male hunters as well. But Talley’s not wrong in showing concern over the things said to her.
Twitter user DeeDee may offer one of the tamer comments Talley has received.
Others are downright nasty and alarming.
Regardless of the reason behind the hunt, whether it was best for conservation or not, we’ve learned in the past that trophy hunting photos of threatened or endangered animals never go over well on the internet.
Maybe you remember the male dentist whose practice was all but ruined after killing Cecil, the prized lion of Zimbabwe. The black giraffe that was the target of Talley’s hunt wasn’t revered, but Walter James Palmer is far from the only game hunter to receive backlash over posing with their kill.
Talley may have been able to avoid notice had the post not been amplified by the AfricaDigest Twitter account. The same post went on to chide the African government for allowing this sort of hunting to continue.
Though the black giraffe was called “rare,” co-founder of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, Julian Fennessy, Ph.D., spoke with Yahoo Lifestyle and clarified a few things.
“The giraffe in the photo is of the South African species Giraffa giraffe, which are not rare - they are increasing in the wild."
It's a subspecies whose population is actually up 167 percent since 1979 to more than 21,000 animals, but the giraffe population overall has declined as much as 40 percent. There are less than 100,000 animals in all of Africa.
Unfortunately for Talley, the damage has already been done and there is little hope that she’ll be able to avoid coming under further fire for her kill.
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