In the past couple of months, I have noticed a trend of hunting stories and photos come across my Facebook newsfeed. The photos did not include only small game hunting like ducks and rabbits, but trophy hunting where people kill rare animals like giraffes, lions and elephants.
Most recently I saw a photo of a woman proudly lying next to a dead giraffe. When I saw the photo, I honestly wanted to cry. I thought to myself, “Who could ever do such a thing and be happy about it?” I immediately found myself researching the Internet for anything I could find about trophy hunting and why people would actively kill animals facing extinction.
Many trophy hunters kill African wildlife because they believe it helps conserve species or provides for poor communities in surrounding areas, according to what I discovered online. The woman in the photo, Rebecca Francis, told Hunting Life magazine that she was asked to kill the giraffe because it was very close to death and could therefore provide food for a local village. She also stated that the people waited to take the animal’s meat after she killed him and then made jewelry out of the bones.
These reasons do not justify killing beautiful animals. In reality, only 3 percent of revenue from trophy hunting ever makes it to communities in need, according to the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation.
It was unnecessary for Francis to kill the giraffe for this village. If the giraffe was already so close to death, the villagers could have waited for him to die naturally and then take his remains as a means of survival. It would have been better for the giraffe to die peacefully instead of being hunted down and staged for a photo.
Trophy hunters should be willing to donate money directly to struggling communities instead of paying thousands of dollars to hunt. A trophy fee is what a hunter pays to the government or land owner when he or she kills a certain animal on that property. The trophy fee of hunting an elephant is more than $40,000 according to African Sky Hunting, a popular hunting company in South Africa. Villages in hunting areas should not have to rely on hunters to come in and kill animals to provide their people with food and goods.
Even though Francis said she was asked to kill the giraffe, the professional female trophy hunter received death threats and thousands of hate letters on Twitter after posting her photo. It is frustrating that someone can so proudly shoot a giraffe or lion and call it a hobby. If that same person were to cause harm to a neighborhood cat or dog, it would be considered illegal in most states, according to Stray Pet Advocacy. Hunting and animal cruelty should both be illegal and highly regulated.
In the future, I hope to visit Africa and see some of the exotic wildlife that lives on the land. If trophy hunting continues, not only will these animals most likely become extinct, poor villages in hunting areas will be left with fewer options for survival.