“Someone who kills another sentient being, cuts out their heart, and boasts about it fits the definition of a sociopath.”
A trophy hunter has sparked outrage for killing a rare black bull giraffe which she revealed was on her bucket list for five years, the Mirror reported.
Merelize Van Der Merwe paid almost £1,500 to shoot the giraffe in South Africa and has faced intense criticism after she posted pictures of her hunt on social media.
The 32-year-old trophy hunter, who killed the animal on February 14 also posed with its heart describing it as her “perfect” Valentine’s gift.
Posting the pictures on Facebook, she asked her 96.6K followers: “Ever wondered how big a giraffe’s heart is? I’m absolutely over the moon with my BIG valentines present!!!”
Van Der Merwe has killed over 500 animals including lions, leopards, and elephants. She added that the giraffe’s hide would be used to make a rug.
The pictures have been heavily debated on social media with many praising the hunter and others condemning her for her disgusting antics.
‘Vile human being’
Among the angry comments received by the hunter was one written by a mother, who said:
“Just had my 12-year-old in tears when she saw this photo. They have been doing conservation at school and how animals are under threat across the world. How do I explain this when you see someone young smiling after killing such a majestic animal and such pleasure on her face. You are no example to young people and you should be ashamed.”
“This should carry a jail penalty. Vile human beings. must be wired wrong,” wrote another.
“I just imagine an animal standing with its foot on your dead body, luckily holding your heart in the air. It would be so cool and funny!” commented a third.
Elisa Allen from PETA told The Mirror: “Someone who kills another sentient being, cuts out their heart, and boasts about it fits the definition of a sociopath.
“One day, trophy hunting will be listed as a sign of a psychiatric disorder, as it should be today. It is grandiosity, serial killing, and bloodlust paired with a burning desire to show off.”
The anti-hunting lobby is a ‘mafia’
Unfazed by the criticism, Van Der Merwe, told the publication: “I have no respect for the anti-hunting lobby. I call them the mafia.
“They have threatened to kill my daughter and mother. But if they are going to give me hell I will give them hell twice as bad – and that’s why I posted the pictures.”
She also claimed that the giraffe she killed was “so old that he was way over his time and the owner didn’t know if he will last another 3 months!!!”.
Also, her hunting of the giraffe ‘created work for 11 people that day’ and provided ‘meat for the locals’.
According to Van Der Merwe hunting is vital for conservation to succeed in South Africa. “If you ban hunting, animals will become worthless and they will disappear,” she said.
“Hunting brings in money for South Africa and has helped bring back a lot of species from the brink of extinction.”
However, anti-trophy hunting organisation Born Free said the cruel bloodsport has no lofty ideals of contributing to conservation or locals but is a thriving business.
According to a BBC report, trophy hunting in South Africa is a $2 billion-per-year industry, and animals such as buffaloes, elephants, and lions are regularly targeted.
Dr. Mark Jones of the Born Free Foundation told the Mirror: “Trophy hunters’ claims they are concerned about wildlife conservation are highly misleading. Trophy hunting is not a conservation tool, nor does it contribute significant funds to local communities.”
The animal welfare organisation said that hunting actually contributed ‘to the detriment of the wider environment’.
“Trophy hunting is a cruel throwback to a colonial past, and the targeting of particular animals (usually those with the most impressive traits such as the biggest tusks or the darkest manes) disrupts animal societies and has knock-on effects for populations and ecosystems that we are only just beginning to understand, ” it said.
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