An American whose 2017 shooting of a giraffe and posing for a photograph with its body sparked international outcry, has said she was proud of hunting the animal, which she said was “delicious” to eat.
Texan Tess Talley, 38, triggered anger last summer when she posted the images of her exploits during a hunting trip the year before in South Africa. “Prayers for my once in a lifetime dream hunt came true today,” she wrote alongside the image. “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 lbs and was blessed to be able to get 2,000 lbs of meat from him.”
Ms Tallley has now further defended her actions, appearing on CBS to say hunters such as herself contribute to the long term preservation of animals by managing populations and funding wildlife conservation. She also said the elderly male giraffe, the skin of which she had made into cushion covers and a rifle case, was delicious to eat.
“It's a hobby, it's something that I love to do. I am proud to hunt. And I am proud of that giraffe,” she said, saying the shooting of the giraffe was part of a conversation hunt.
When it was pointed out that she was clearly smiling in the images she posted with the animal, she said: “You do what you love to do. It's joy. If you don't love what you do, you're not gonna continue to do it.”
She said even though she enjoyed hunting, there was an element of remorse.
“Everybody thinks that the easiest part is pulling the trigger. And it's not,” she said. “That's the hardest part. But you gain so much respect, and so much appreciation for that animal because you know what that animal is going through. They are put here for us. We harvest them, we eat them.”
In a statement, Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International, said: “Trophy hunting of giraffe shows sheer and arrogant disregard for the imperilled status of an iconic species.
“A 2015 estimate found that fewer than 100,000 giraffes remain in the wild in Africa, and our 2018 investigation revealed that nearly 4,000 giraffe-derived trophies were imported into the US over the last decade.”
She said giraffes were facing “a myriad of threats including poaching and habitat fragmentation”.
She added: “Their dire conservation status should not be further compounded by the horror of trophy hunters bent on killing them for senseless and gruesome trophies.”