Kendall Jones, the Texas teenager who shot to infamy for shooting big game in Africa as a teen hunter, has been making enemies and receiving death threats since her Facebook page went viral last week. And now the Humane Society of the United States is condemning the 19-year-old for posting photos of herself smiling with dead animals.
Nicole Paquette, the Humane Society’s vice president for wildlife protection, called Jones’ behavior “shameful” and said the Texas Tech University cheerleader is only hunting for a “thrill kill.”
“Traveling halfway around the world to shoot some of the world’s most magnificent, and threatened, animals is shameful,” Paquette said in a statement. “Many of the species that Ms. Jones has killed face declining populations due to loss of habitat and poaching. Amidst this crisis, trophy hunting only adds to the threats to the survival of these iconic species and is nothing more than a thrill kill.”
The organization offered some advice to Jones, who calls herself a "conservationist" by hunting animals to protect their survival as a species.
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“Rather than pose for social media with these rare species, lying lifeless, Ms. Jones should support true conservation efforts to combat poaching and protect both animals and communities,” Paquette said.
— The Sun (@TheSunNewspaper) June 30, 2014
Jones sparked outrage after photos from her Facebook page, Kendall Takes Wild, went viral, showing her smiling next to animals she had killed, including a lion, rhinoceros, antelope, leopard, elephant, zebra and hippopotamus. Nearly 185,000 people had signed a petition on Avaaz.org as of Thursday morning calling for Jones’ page to be removed from Facebook. Similar petitions have arisen, like one on Change.org which had nearly 95,000 signatures by Thursday.
On Tuesday, Jones’ manager, Justin Cook, issued a statement in response to the criticism the teen and her family have received, including death threats.
"It's imperative to make mention that all of Kendall's hunts in Zimbabwe and South Africa were 100 percent legal with proper tags and licenses awarded on a pre-approved quota by the countries' officials and wildlife department," he said. "We're very proud of Kendall and [her father] Cody in not only helping to conserve these species for future generations, but also for helping contribute both money and jobs to an extremely poor area of Africa."
He continued: "We would simply ask that these folks consider if threatening to murder a human being for 100 percent legal behavior makes you worthy of the freedom to express your love for animals. Although our ideologies may differ from those making threats, we, as a family, still have a profound respect for human life and the law."
Jones also posted on Facebook, along with a photo of a white rhino she darted, that she is “doing my part in conservation to make a difference.”