(ANIMAL CRUELTY/HUNTING) Animal rights activists are outraged by the recent activities of Kendall Jones. The 19-year-old Texas Tech University cheerleader sparked a firestorm of debate after posting a series of pictures on Facebook of herself posing next to her big game kills, which include a zebra, lion, leopard, and rhino.
Jones hopes to one day host a TV show focused on big game hunting, and quite nonsensically, she claims her passion for hunting lies in a need to promote wildlife conservation efforts. Likening her beliefs to Teddy Roosevelt’s conservation methods, Jones refuses to back down or delete the controversial photos.
You can take action by signing the two online petitions were created to take down her Facebook page and ban the teenager from hunting in South Africa. Read on for the full details on her South African killing spree as well as her counterintuitive reasoning. — Global Animal
New York Daily News, Michael Walsh
Pretty in pink. Deadly in camo.
Animal rights activists aren’t pleased with a Texas Tech University cheerleader’s hunting trips that have left trails of blood throughout Africa.
The pictures of her beaming beside dead animal carcasses have caused an uproar heard around the Internet.
Kendall Jones, 19, of Cleburne, Tex., has been uploading these controversial pictures to Facebook to promote her hunting career and hopes to host a TV show on hunting.
“I’d love to drop kick you into a lions’ den, see how you do without your gun,” someone commented on a picture of her smiling over the body of a leopard she just killed.
Another disheartened Facebook user offered a more measured response: “No matter how you look at it, seeing people smiling over the dead body of such a majestic animal is just sad.”
If she’s aiming to please, she’s missed the mark.
Jones, however, views herself as a conservationist and argues that hunting rare animals is counterintuitively the best way to ensure their survival.
“Hunters are the biggest conservationists there are,” she said. “We want animal populations to grow and thrive!”
According to Jones, whose family raises exotic animals, these rare beasts’ value to hunters is the incentive for animal keepers to maintain the population.
“How would farmers be able to afford monthly feed and vet bills (over $15,000 a month) if there was no value on the animals? Come on people think about these things,” she said.
But many Africans have criticized Jones’ line of thinking.
Kieron Brown, a South African from Cape Town, started a petition on change.org to stop Jones from hunting on the continent. He accuses Jones of using “endangered and helpless” animals as a stepping stone to greater popularity online.
Another petition on AZAAZ.org, hoping to have Jones’ Facebook page taken down for animal cruelty, has already garnered more than 240,000 signatures.
Jones fell in love with hunting and the culture surrounding it when she accompanied her father on a trip to Zimbabwe in 2004.
“As badly as I wanted to shoot something, I was just too small to hold the guns my dad had brought,” she wrote in her Facebook bio.
Four years later, at just 13, Jones traveled to South Africa to start hunting the Big Five: African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard and African rhino. Hunters value killing these large animals because they’re the most difficult to bag.
The first animal Jones ever shot was a white rhino with a .416 Remington.
“On this trip I also took some plains game, such as impala, kudu and mountain reedbuck home,” she said.
Jones returned to Africa the following summer to check off the rest of the Big Five on a 28-day safari. She killed an elephant, buffalo and lion but failed to kill a leopard—so she returned two weeks later for a 14-day safari.
“This time I got my leopard, and also took down a hippo to get 6 of the Dangerous 7 at the age of 14!” she gloated.
Jones is a sophomore pursuing a degree in marketing and sports therapy.
“This is absolutely despicable. How can you kill such a majestic animal?” another Facebook user commented on a picture of Jones holding her pink arrows over a dead lion in the Kalahari Desert. “You are absolute scum. I hope a gorgeous African animal takes its own revenge on you one day for all the beautiful souls you have shot.”