In the USA, about six per cent of the population (just over one in 20 people) goes hunting every year. Most of these people kill domestic wild game such as boar or deer, but others will venture further afield in order to satisfy their apparent need to take a life. In fact, some will pay tens of thousands of dollars in order to take down something particularly rare or dangerous.
But, while most people are happy to eat meat or see animals kept in captivity, hunting is an activity that many find repugnant, and those who partake in the so-called “sport” are often called out on social media.
Most recently, a woman named Tess Thompson Talley was named by the Twitter account AfricaDigest for killing an incredibly rare black giraffe.
“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,” Africa Digest tweeted.
“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.”
Other social media users soon flocked to call Talley out for her heartless actions.
“Their brutality knows no boundaries,” wrote one commenter.
“This is horrific,” said another. “1st. Why and how are we (#africans) allowing this? 2nd. If you pride yourself at killing animals…. how about a really fast and powerful one. A girafe ? That’s so cruel. So so cruel. [sic]”
Others, however, were defending the hunter, saying that it is the fault of African governments for creating an economy in which hunters’ bloodlust is valued more than an animal’s life.
“What rubbish,” said one person. “She is a hunter. We allow and indeed encourage hunting as an important tourist activity. And on top of which you play the race card. This is virtue signalling, not social commentary.”
It is true that “Trophy Hunters” (people such as Talley, who kill for sport rather than necessity) contribute a significant amount to the economies of African governments, and some reports put the income of the business as a whole at around $200 million annually.
What’s more, it’s also correct that a hunt is often strategically set up so that the target is very weak/old, and was a detriment to its group anyway – therefore making the slaughter somewhat beneficial, in a way.
While many people may argue that there are benefits to trophy hunting, however, the whole business has been proven time and time again to be corrupt.
A recent report from the Democratic staff of the House Committee on Natural Resources found that trophy hunting poses a significant threat to the populations of endangered animals, and that – quite frequently – any money that changes hands during the transaction does not often end up going towards conservation efforts, as is often claimed it does.
“Trophy hunters do not always play by the rules, and the trophy hunting industry needs to be regulated and held accountable for there to be any hope of a consistent conservation benefit,” they said.
As these pictures of Tess Thompson Talley show, however, the industry still needs a great deal of regulation if we are to have any hope of conserving the planet’s most endangered species of animals.