— . (@MJBR_) July 1, 2014
Kendall Jones, a 19-year-old Texan, is sparking outrage for posting photos of herself smiling with dead animals — most of them endangered species — she gunned down while hunting big game in Africa.
The Texas Tech University cheerleader says she has been hunting animals in Africa since she was 13 years old. On her page, Kendall Takes Wild, Jones regularly posts photos of herself smiling next to dead animals she hunted, including a lion, rhinoceros, antelope, leopard, elephant, zebra and hippopotamus.
Jones claims she is “doing my part in conservation to make a difference” and hopes to host her own television show about hunting.
In just over a week, nearly 50,000 people signed a petition on Avaaz.org calling for Jones’ page to be removed from Facebook. The petition reads:
“For the sake of all animals, especially the animals in the African region … where hunters are going for gun just to kill an animal! Some people have been reporting the pages lately but it seems Facebook is not concerned about what Kendall Jones is promoting in her page.”
Another petition on Change.org has garnered more than 5,000 signatures to ban Jones from hunting in African countries. She’s also received loads of criticism online, like a comment from Facebook user Wendy Sutton:
“I'm an educated, professional environmentalist and do my best to save and protect some of the few remaining endangered species remaining on this planet. It does not matter that it is legal. You are contributing to the extinction of beautiful animals. Your ignorance for the sake of pleasure is mortifying to myself. If you're going to kill for fun - focus on pest species or just do not post it online.”
— Sarah Logan (@SarahLogan7) July 1, 2014
Jones, however, does not believe she is doing any harm but rather being helpful. The Cleburne, Texas, resident says she is a conservationist and hunting animals helps their survival as a species.
"Hunters are the biggest conservationists there are," she said. "We want animal populations to grow and thrive!"
She also says she hunts as a “fair chase” where animal populations need to be controlled.
“Controlling the male lion population is important within large fenced areas like these,” Jones said in one post. “Funds from a hunt like this goes partially to the government for permits but also to the farm owner as an incentive to keep and raise lions on their property.”
Jones also seems immune to the many negative comments she’s drawn, saying: “All the anti-hunters posting negative comments and sharing my photos on their page has helped me get over 600 likes in the past 48 hours.”
— The Sun (@TheSunNewspaper) June 30, 2014
According to The New York Daily News, Jones’ family raises exotic animals and she became interested in hunting in 2004 at 9 years old when she went with her dad to Zimbabwe.
"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.
In her page’s biography, Jones goes on to explain her progress in hunting over the years, starting off at age 13 when she traveled to South Africa to hunt what is known as “The Big Five:” African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard and African rhino.
It is unclear whether Facebook will reprimand or remove Jones from its social network. According to the Blaze, Facebook does not have specific guidelines for hunting photos but the company allows photos of “hunting as it occurs in nature.”