JOHNSON COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A woman from Eastern Kentucky is taking heat for hunting and killing a giraffe in South Africa.
Tess Talley, who's originally from Johnson County, says she's received thousands of angry messages and threats over pictures she posted with overseas trophy kills.
Africa Digest tweeted images of Talley with a giraffe she hunted and killed, which went viral.
Talley says she's been the subject of relentless online scorn, even getting criticism from celebrities like actor Ricky Gervais who tweeted, "Giraffes are now on the 'red list' of endangerment due to a 40% decline over the last 25 years. They could become extinct. Gone forever. And still, we allow spoilt (expletive deleted) to pay money to shoot them with a bow and arrow for fun."
Trophy hunting is legal in several African countries.
Talley sent WSAZ a statement Monday saying, "I get that hunting is not for everyone, that's what makes this world great is the differences, but to make threats to anyone because they don't believe the way you do is completely unacceptable."
Talley also says that breed of giraffe is not rare in any way and was beyond breeding age. She says it had killed three younger bulls who would have been able to breed.
She says now that the giraffe is dead, the younger bulls are able to breed, allowing the population to increase -- a method known as conservation through game management.
Talley says she was blessed to be able to get 2,000 pounds of meat from that giraffe.
You can read Talley's entire statement below:
"The giraffe I hunted was the South African subspecies of giraffe. The numbers of this sub-species are 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. This giraffe was 18+ years old and beyond breeding age, yet had killed 3 younger bulls who would have been able to breed...this causes the population of that herd to go down. Now that the giraffe is gone, the younger bulls are able to breed...this causes the population increase. This is called conservation through game management. Option 1: let the giraffe continue terrorizing younger bulls, die naturally, waste the meat, hide, bones. Lose income to ranchers, conservation for the rest of the herd, taxidermist, shippers, etc. Option 2: find someone willing to pay $100,000+ to transport, care for, feed the giraffe for what would have been 1-2 years left of life max. a) put him in with another herd where he continues to kill young bulls=population goes down. b) lock him in a small inhumane enclosed pen where he could potentially injure himself or others trying to escape. Option 3: sell the hunt, earn income for conservation of the other remaining giraffes, income to ranch owner, income to trackers, skinners, taxidermist, etc. Use the meat for much-needed protein I cannot speak for all, or any other hunts that take place in Africa or elsewhere in the world but this was not a “canned” hunt. I will say one more thing on this subject. For all the people wishing death or even threatening death to me. This does nothing positive for your “movement” it only shows the world how lopsided your priorities are. The very same picture could have been posted, and are posted daily, of men with their trophies and not a word is said. It is by far women that hunt who catch more grief from the “tolerant” and “all loving” animal rights activists. It’s sickening to the majority of people how women are treated all over the world, except in the case of women hunters. You people call yourselves compassionate and caring, yet some of the most vile things have been directed at me and many other women hunters. I get that hunting is not for everyone, that’s what makes this world great is the differences. But to make threats to anyone because they don’t believe the way you do is completely unacceptable. If it was any other belief that was different, threats and insults would be deemed hideous, however for some reason it is ok to act this way because it’s hunting."