Fury over teen huntress

02 July 2014 - 02:05 By Shaun Smillie

Kendall Jones is blonde, a cheerleader and likes to kill.

The 19-year-old Texan - who is accompanied by a three-man camera crew on her hunts - regularly posts pictures of trophies from her big game safaris on Facebook, including dead lions, hippos, buffalo and elephants.

South African Kieron Brown has started an online petition calling for Jones to be banned from Africa, while another petition wants Jones's photographs removed from Facebook because the signatories say they depict cruelty to animals.

In response, Jones has argued that her hunting funds conservation and "helps feed African villagers".

Jones has predictably triggered the old argument between animal rights activists and hunters.

Julio Pereira wrote the following on Jones's Facebook page: "Come to South Africa and try and hunt our endangered animals, you will be shot on sight and, believe me, there will be celebrations."

Christopher McKee wrote: "Good luck on your hunts. Stay numb to the idiot anti-hunters too."

On her Facebook profile, Jones states she hopes to host a TV show in January 2015 .

Brown retorted: "You can't use this as a stepping stone, as a path to get into media. You can't just step on a species."

Brown said his petition had gathered more than 700 signatures.

South African Hunters and Game Conservation Association CEO Chris Niehaus said that while Jones's motives might be questionable, he agreed that hunting does aid conservation.

He used the example of Kenya, which banned all hunting in 1977. Today, he said, 80% of Kenya's wildlife has been poached.

In South Africa, by contrast, game numbers outside of national parks have grown from 500000 in 1977 to 16 million. Most of these animals are on game farms that cater for the hunting industry.

He said: "Unless it has a value, it will not survive. In Kenya, zebra were seen as competing with livestock and were killed."

He said a conservative estimate for the value of the SA hunting industry was between R6-billion and R7-billion, though this did not include taxidermists and other businesses that indirectly benefited.