Users of Facebook and Twitter are outraged that a 19-year old college cheerleader is posting pictures of herself with animals, such as lions and water buffalo, that she's hunted down.
Kendall Jones, who is a cheerleader at Texas Tech University, has a Facebook page called “Kendall Takes Wild
” where she posts pictures of herself posing with the animals that she's killed, including many endangered ones. Jones said that she's loved hunting big game since she was 13 years old, and has a special proclivity for taking on endangered animals in Africa. She has more than 188,000 Facebook "Likes" for her page.
However, her passion is sparking outrage on the social media site. Reportedly, more than 50,000 people have signed various online petitions seeking to ban Kendall's page from Facebook, while others are trying to get her banned from hunting in South Africa.
Jones was quick to counter animal rights-advocates and angry Facebook users, saying that her hunting is actually a benefit to conservation efforts and helps to support the regions where she hunts. She points to a picture of herself next to a white rhino, saying that she shot it with a tranquilizer gun so it could be microchipped and tracked by researchers and veterinarians.
Jones also notes that an elephant she killed in Africa helped feed people in the area, saying that the villagers “showed up to take a little protein home."
Jones also says that she enjoys her family's hunting ranch in Texas where they hunt and "raise 24 different types of species." She defends the ranch on her page:
"If there wasn't a value to hunting these animals, there would be no incentive to raise these animals. That's how hunting and conservation works people," she says "How would farmers be able to afford monthly feed and vet bills (over $15,000 a month) if there was no value on the animals. Come on people think about these things. Hunters are the biggest conservationists there are. We want animal populations to grow and thrive!"
Despite this, many visitors to Jones' page aren't buying her stated goals of conservation.
"You kill animals and feel proud? You are a narcissist and a sociopath. I'm disgusted by you and anyone who supports such revolting behavior," notes one commentator.
Another writes: "Do you understand why people are so upset? First off, elephants are highly intelligent social beings. They grieve when one of their own dies. They are endangered. There is more to your killing then just conservation. Much more. I will never understand how one who hunts can smile when they have just killed a beautiful creature for whatever reason."
Even her shooting the white rhino with a tranquilizer has come into question. Notes one Facebook critic: "I am a wildlife biologist. The vets are more than capable of darting a rhino themselves, they don't need some stupid hick to do it for them. Nobody will believe you are a real conservationist because of this. Look to Bindi Irwin if you need help establishing what a real wildlife warrior looks like."
Jones seems to be fine with the publicity and an army of supporters have joined her on the Facebook page. A hashtag #SupportKendall has been trending on both Twitter and Facebook, but many of the people using it are not supporters.
Kendall says on her Facebook page that she's looking to host her own television show in the near future.
Warning to Facebook users, there are graphic images below: