Last year, an American trophy hunter named Tess Thompson Talley went on a hunting trip to South Africa, where she shot a black giraffe and then posed for a picture next to its carcass.
The images quickly went viral after they were found and shared by a page called Africa Digest with the caption, “White American savage who is partly a neanderthal comes to Africa and shoot down a very rare black giraffe courtesy of South Africa stupidity. Her name is Tess Thompson Talley. Please share. 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 let’s have a united voice against pillage of Africa, it’s the only home we have.”
“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 let’s have a united voice against pillage of Africa, it’s the only home we have,” a second tweet read.
Africa Digest only has a few thousand followers on their page, but the harsh nature of the post seemed to attract plenty of attention. A whole year later, those photos are still the pinned post on the Africa Digest Twitter page.
Africa Digest represents many citizens of South Africa who are upset that the government makes millions of dollars by allowing rich western tourists to come and hunt the region’s wildlife.
“These public outrages are very much in line with public opinion surveys showing an overwhelming majority of the American public opposes trophy hunting,” Iris Ho, the wildlife programs manager for Humane Society International told the NY Times.
In an email with FOX News, as the controversy stirred, Talley said that this specific subspecies is actually overpopulated and that she was just managing the population.
“This is called conservation through game management. The giraffe I hunted was the South African sub-species of giraffe. The numbers of this sub-species is actually increasing due, in part, to hunters and conservation efforts paid for in large part by big game hunting. The breed is not rare in any way other than it was very old. Giraffes get darker with age,” Talley told Fox News.
“I get that hunting is not for everyone; that’s what makes this world great is the differences. But to make threats to anyone because they don’t believe the way you do is completely unacceptable. If it was any other belief that was different, threats and insults would be deemed hideous. However, for some reason it is OK to act this way because it’s hunting,” Talley added.
Rick Parsons, the chief executive of Safari Club International, doesn’t believe that trophy hunters care about conservation.
“Hunters hunt them because hunters like to hunt. The conservation is a result of taking this desire to hunt and managing it. That’s the key concept in wildlife conservation today,” Parsons said.
Unfortunately, many of the animals who are hunted around the world each year are extinct. In fact, while the giraffe subspecies that she shot was not endangered, there are many other giraffe subspecies who are endangered.
According to a report from the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Giraffe populations are dwindling fast.
“Whilst giraffe are commonly seen on safari, in the media, and in zoos, people – including conservationists – are unaware that these majestic animals are undergoing a silent extinction. While giraffe populations in southern Africa are doing just fine, the world’s tallest animal is under severe pressure in some of its core ranges across East, Central and West Africa. It may come as a shock that three of the currently recognized nine subspecies are now considered ‘Critically Endangered’ or ‘Endangered’, but we have been sounding the alarm for a few years now,” says Dr. Julian Fennessy, co-chair of the IUCN SSC GOSG, and Director of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation.
The NY Times noted that giraffes have seen a population decline of 36 percent to 40 percent over three generations. Populations were between 150,000 and 164,000 in 1985, but in 2015 it was recorded that there were fewer than 98,000.
Their endangered status is mostly the result of habitat loss, civil unrest, and illegal hunting.
Photo Credit: Africa Digest Twitter