Animal lover and emphatic tweeter Ricky Gervais recently unleashed a social media firestorm against Rebecca Francis, a Utah huntress who was pictured smiling next to a freshly-killed giraffe.
Fuming, the actor and comedian tweeted the picture of Francis to his 7 million-plus followers.
What must’ve happened to you in your life to make you want to kill a beautiful animal & then lie next to it smiling? pic.twitter.com/DyYw1T5ck2
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) April 13, 2015
Francis, a prolific hunter and mother of eight, has taken the lives of dozens of wild and exotic animals — and has a website and Facebook page that is dedicated to her posting pictures of the animals that she has killed in hunts across America and Africa.
Some of these animals include bears, zebras, buffaloes, and giraffes, which she pays to kill with a bow and arrow.
“We hunt elk and deer every year without fail, even through pregnancy, and nursing babies. Our hunting trips are self-guided,” Francis wrote on her website.
“I prefer bowhunting,” she notes, “and the animals I have taken with a bow include: a 10 1/2 ft. brown bear, black bear, shiras moose, alaskan moose, dall sheep, stone sheep, desert bighorn ram, rocky mountain bighorn ram, mule deer, whitetail deer, elk, mountain goat, antelope, arapawa ram, kudu, zebra, black wildebeest, giraffe, springbuck, blesbuck, lynx, badger, and squirrel. I have also taken many of the same species and more with a rifle.”
Since Gervais tweeted the image of Francis and the giraffe, it was retweeted more than 23,000 times – and users across the Twittersphere chimed in their disgust with the trophy hunter’s actions.
Just been reading about Rebecca Francis “extreme huntress” & I feel completely sick. How can anybody do that with a smile?
— Hayley (@HMcLaughlin92) April 13, 2015
Rebecca Francis, Wow, you are heinously ugly. May you reap what you have sown. Pray that I never encounter you.
— Linda Sproule (@linda_nyclinda) April 13, 2015
@rickygervais It’s a special kind of psychopathy, it really is.
— Jason Arnopp (@JasonArnopp) April 13, 2015
@rickygervais I see this picture and I still find it hard to comprehend that this sort of brutality exists in people.
— Kylie Timpani (@kylietimpani) April 13, 2015
The grandmother of nine, who was a winner on the reality TV show Extreme Huntress in 2010, also became the recipient of a barrage of online threats. But in a statement issued to HuntingLife.com‘s Facebook page, she proves to robustly stand by her kills.
“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.”
Gervais, on the other hand, has continued to use his Twitter as a public platform to raise awareness and urge people to follow @VETPAW, an organization that protects African wildlife from poachers.
The West African Black Rhino has been officially declared extinct. It was hunted for its horn. Shame on our species. pic.twitter.com/hAljGZmRTT
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) April 14, 2015
Trophy hunters spend thousands of dollars to kill harmless and exotic animals, which leads to a decline in their population in the wild.
In regards to giraffes, their population has decreased by almost 50 percent due to acts like trophy hunting and poaching.
[Image via Daily Mail]