Rebecca Francis’ giraffe photo ignited a firestorm of criticism since the big game hunter is shown laying next to a dead giraffe while smiling broadly. But why does the female hunter think her photo is not a case of animal cruelty?
In a related report by the Inquisitr, another big game hunter named Corey Knowlton paid $350,000 in order to kill a rare black rhino, which is on the verge of extinction. But the Texas hunter claims he’s killing the black rhino in order to save the species.
As a big game hunter, Francis has bagged many diverse animals, ranging from lynx, brown and black bears, Alaskan moose, sheep, rams, deer, goats, to even zebras. Photos on the hunter’s website shows the mother of eight children proudly posing with many a dead animal, and she even once went hunting while pregnant. The accomplished outdoorswoman has also won a TV hunting competition called Extreme Hunting in 2010 and hosted a show called Eye of the Hunter.
The social media backlash started when comedian Ricky Gervais posted Rebecca Francis’ giraffe photo on Twitter, and she has received many death threats for how she posed. But it turns out that the female hunter had created the photo and posted it on RebeccaFrancis.com in August of 2010. There are also other examples of female hunters posing with dead giraffes, but none of them have inspired outrage.
Although the giraffe photo is very old, Hunting Life reached out for a statement to find out the circumstances of the photo.
“When I was in Africa five years ago I was of the mindset that I would never shoot a giraffe. I was approached toward the end of my hunt with a unique circumstance. They showed me this beautiful old bull giraffe that was wandering all alone. He had been kicked out of the herd by a younger and stronger bull. He was past his breeding years and very close to death. They asked me if I would preserve this giraffe by providing all the locals with food and other means of survival. He was inevitably going to die soon and he could either be wasted or utilized by the local people. I chose to honor his life by providing others with his uses and I do not regret it for one second. Once he was down there were people waiting to take his meat. They also took his tail to make jewelry, his bones to make other things, and did not waste a single part of him. I am grateful to be a part of something so good.”
This response is not something that was invented due to the controversy surrounding Rebecca Francis’ giraffe photo. Back in 2011, she wrote on her blog that killing old members of a species can actually help the group thrive.
“There is no question that I am extremely selective about the animals I hunt. I feel it is absolutely necessary to hunt older and more mature animals. In a lot of cases, that puts that animal past it’s breeding prime and the animal can actually be kicked out of the herd and replaced with a younger, stronger male to introduce new genetics into the gene pool. Consequently, that animal can not only be bullied by the new male, but also be left all alone to suffer until it’s inevitable death.”
This explanation is not as unusual as you might think. For example, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) lets American hunters claim the trophies of nearly extinct species under certain circumstances. The argument goes that culling programs remove older, potentially infertile bulls from the herd so that younger bulls can mate and grow the population. In addition, the money spent by hunters goes toward conservationist efforts in Africa and other locations, where these rare creatures reside.
What do you think about Rebecca Francis’ giraffe photo? Do you agree with her assessment of why hunting older animals is important?