A trophy hunter has drawn outrage from animal lovers across the world after she posed with her “perfect” Valentine’s gift – the heart of a giraffe she shot and killed in South Africa. Merelize Van Der Merwe said her husband paid $1,900 to fulfill her dream of killing a giraffe at a game park last weekend.
The defiant Van Der Merwe posted the photos on her Facebook page contend hunters like her actually are saving the South African threatened species. Conservationists dismiss her claim.
According to the NZ Herald, Van Der Merwe boasts she has killed more than 500 animals since beginning her hunting passion at five-years-old. She claims to have killed lions, leopards and elephants and proudly displays her trophies to taunt animal rights supporters.
Van Der Merwe had been told about the 17-year-old bull giraffe spotted in a game park. She plans to use the animal’s skin for a rug, but said she had always been curious about the size of the animal’s heart. She claimed the death of the old giraffe would make room for a new bull and “provide new strong genetics for the herd.”
Giraffe’s have an average lifespan of 25 years.
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS[ found that there is “substantial information on potential threats” to giraffes and listing them as endangered “may be warranted”.
Ben Williamson, Programs Director for the World Animal Protection, stated:
“The protection of giraffes under the Endangered Species Act is long overdue. These iconic animals are under threat from the usual evils of habitat destruction and poaching, and the misguided human curiosity that sees their furry tan skin turned into rugs, and long bones turned into trinkets.”
In response to the public backlash, Van Der Merwe posted a photo of herself enjoying a can of beer with the following post:
“While I make headlines across the globe thought I’ll take a second to have a beer and enjoy our game farm.I hope that I can at least claim some profit from all the kleenex used this week for all the emotionally unstable people out there.”
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