Americans react with outrage, disgust to giraffe hunter’s photos boasting of kill

By on July 5, 2018 with 9 Comments

Exactly three years after the killing of Cecil the lion sparked outrage among the American public, one more U.S. trophy hunter is making international headlines for killing an imperiled animal — this time a giraffe. The news of this hunt comes just weeks after another American killed a lion, alleged to be Skye, a male dominant lion, also in South Africa.

The hunter who shot the giraffe in South Africa and posted photos of herself, grinning, next to the dead animal, evoked reactions raging from disbelief to anger in the media and on the internet.

“I didn’t even know people hunted giraffes,” said Gayle King, cohost of the CBS Morning Show.

While most of us are reacting from the gut to this crude display of animal cruelty, the hunt also exposes the callous disregard the American trophy-hunting universe, led by hunting groups like Safari Club International, has for the conservation status of animals whose numbers are rapidly declining and who are at serious risk for extinction.

While habitat destruction, poaching and ecological changes are all to blame for this decline, American trophy hunters have played an important role as well. Almost 4,000 giraffe trophies were imported into the United States between 2006 and 2015 – that is more than one giraffe killed by an American every day.

In an assessment published in 2016, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) determined that wild giraffe populations have plummeted about 40 percent over the last 30 years in what some call a “silent extinction” – a term evoked by the fact that a giraffe cannot make a sound even when he is in danger. The giraffe species is assessed as “vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and two of the animal’s nine subspecies are assessed as “endangered.” There are now less than 100,000 giraffes in Africa — far fewer than even elephants.

Last year the Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society International and our conservation partners petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to list the giraffe as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA). If the government moves forward with protections under the ESA, the import, export and interstate sale of giraffe parts would be prohibited in the United States. An ESA listing would also mandate the FWS to demonstrate that the import of giraffe hunting trophies would enhance the survival of the species — a tall order given the precarious status the species is in.

The American hunter who killed the giraffe is pushing back against the criticism, arguing that the animal she hunted was more than 18 years old and that he had killed three other giraffes. But that argument makes no sense from a conservation perspective. Giraffes have a breeding life span of about 18 years, and bulls are able reproduce right up until their last years. In the wild, displays of dominance determine who will breed, and among giraffes, dominance is achieved through necking behavior which is a critical component of natural selection as it ensures that only the strongest, fittest males will reproduce. If the giraffe killed by this hunter indeed killed three other giraffes, then she just wiped out the strongest and fittest individual from that population, weakening the gene pool.

It is time that we call out trophy hunting as the harmful activity that it is. Hunters who travel across the world are not doing so for conservation but for bagging and bragging rights of animal trophies and for the disgusting thrill of killing exotic species.

Americans have made it clear this week that they do not approve of this unnecessary killing. There has never been a better time for our government to stand tall for giraffes, before these graceful animals disappear forever. You can do your part by asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to stop the trophy hunting of giraffes by listing them as “endangered” under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

Protect giraffes under the Endangered Species Act

Humane Society International, Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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  1. Michele OBrien says:

    Honestly, I have no words that can truly Express the disgust I feel for this horrible woman. I don’t know how she could feel any satisfaction for killing this poor creature. I guess she’s one of those people that I can only describe as subhuman.

  2. Kathleen Herzberg says:

    Giraffes are not trophies, nor any other wild animal. They are wild and serve a purpose in OUR ecosystem. Yes they are part of this world and how it functions. We as humans should be smart enough to conserve and allow nature to live with their innate characteristics. They are for us to kill and display like to show how strong a human is or something, come on.

  3. Marilyn Jasper says:

    Notice the trite excuses for happily snuffing a magnificent life: “He was old” (already debunked by Kitty B), yet those who kill always call themselves “conservationists” (aka “hunters”) and kill the hardiest, most genetically strong, of the species for their wall mount;
    “…had killed three other giraffes” (again, Kitty B addresses that), but how would anyone, let alone a lightweight, non-scientist, self-serving animal killer, know? Did she witness all three encounters in the wild? If not, she may have been spoon fed by her generously paid (and tipped) “guide” (or the corporation she financed the trip through). Not all wildlife dominance encounters, including male giraffes, result in death.
    K Hertzberg’s comment suggests another message (subtle or otherwise) that should be expanded: If an animal species (humans are animals) is big, beautiful, exotic, and/or rare, does that carry a death sentence solely for ego boosting by those with a right-to-kill mentality?

  4. Armin Hensler says:

    Trophy hunting is a kind of perversion that should be banned and sentenced. What an insane justification! Did you ever hear something like this: “I shot him and it was ok because he was already 77 years old and I shot 3 other already!” And homo sapiens are not yet close to extinction – but are working hard at it. But these creatures are! I’m sure it is not good for trophy hunters charma and fate to commit these crimes. But this doesn’t help the animals! Politics need to act here and protect the ones that can’t shoot back!

  5. Carol Hall says:

    What a brave woman she was taking on such a fierce creature as a giraffe! As difficult and dangerous as shooting a tree so did that really give her twisted ego a boost? I do have to wonder what level of intellect this moronic female has – I strongly suspect, considerably less than the poor, blameless giraffe. Shamelful.

  6. Priscill Chambers says:

    U.S. Fish And Wildlife please protect giraffes from trophy hunting by listing them as endangered under the endangered species act.

    Priscilla Chambers

  7. Linda Miller says:

    I have recently returned from a safari in Africa. I was in a wonderful park in Tanzania. I had the thrilling privilege of seeing many giraffes. They are magnificent and beautiful. When they are used to jeeps, as they are in the parks and conservation areas, it is possible to drive within a few yards or meters of them as they peacefully eat the leaves high up in the trees. They often stop eating and stare at the jeep and it’s occupants. So shooting and killing one of these marvellous creatures would basically be as difficult as shooting and killing a cow in the pasture. It is hard to fathom how someone who obviously has lots of money and doesn’t need to kill for food could possibly take any satisfaction or enjoyment from the senseless slaughter of any animal, but especially one whose population is dwindling.

  8. Debra Broach says:

    You know, once these idiots have killed off all the animals in the wild, look out, they will be heading to the zoo’s next. I shudder to think the danger they will be in having to duck while shooting an animal locked inside a cage. MORONS!

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