Photos of Tess Thompson Talley of Kentucky were first posted to Twitter June 16 by South African publication AfricaDigest, which shared them with the caption, "White American savage who is partly a neanderthal comes to Africa and shoot down a very rare black giraffe courtesy of South Africa stupidity. Her name is Tess Thompson Talley. Please share."
— AfricaDigest (@africlandpost) June 16, 2018
The controversial images, which were circulated heavily on social media, outraged some Twitter users.
Talley herself had posted the photos of her standing next to the giraffe on Facebook last June with the caption, "Prayers for my once in a lifetime dream hunt came true today! Spotted this rare black giraffe bull and stalked him for quite awhile. I knew it was the one. He was over 18 years old, 4,000 Ibs and was blessed to be able to get 2,000 Ibs of meat from him." The Facebook post has since been deleted.
— Tom Kay (@tomkaymusic) June 20, 2018
Talley defended her actions In a recent email to Fox News.
"The giraffe I hunted was the South African sub-species of giraffe. The numbers of this sub-species is actually increasing due, in part, to hunters and conservation efforts paid for in large part by big game hunting. The breed is not rare in any way other than it was very old. Giraffes get darker with age," she wrote to Fox News, the news agency reported Sunday.
— Debra Messing (@DebraMessing) June 27, 2018
In addition, she noted that the giraffe she killed was too old to breed and had killed three younger bulls who were capable of breeding. She argued that her kill actually enabled other younger bulls to be able breed in the future, as their lives were no longer threatened by the older giraffe.
"This is called conservation through game management," Talley noted in her email to Fox News.
"The giraffe in the photo is of the South African species Giraffa giraffe, which are not rare — they are increasing in the wild," Julian Fennessy, co-founder of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, recently told Yahoo Lifestyle. "Legal hunting of giraffe is not a reason for their decline, despite the moral and ethical side of it, which is a different story."
— Jessica Worley (@PinkLunatic1994) June 29, 2018
Trophy hunting, which is the hunting of wild game for human recreation and physical mementos, is legal in several African countries, including South Africa, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In a 2015 report, the BBC claimed that South African trophy hunting is a $2 billion a year industry.
— Terry Skovronek (@adeathmidwife) June 26, 2018
In a June 20 Twitter post, comedian, actor and animal rights activist Ricky Gervais tweeted that giraffes appear on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's red list of endangered species because the animal's global population has experienced a 40 percent decline over the last 25 years.
"They could become extinct. Gone forever. And still, we allow spoilt c*nts to pay money to shoot them with a bow and arrow for fun," Gervais tweeted.
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) June 20, 2018
Three years ago, the Global Anti-Poaching Act was passed in the US to increase punitive actions against wildlife traffickers after a Minnesota dentist hunted and killed Cecil the lion, a Southern African lion, in Zimbabwe.