When Facebook admins are not focused on baby bottoms, they are also at odds with hunters, who often post their kills on their profiles. This week, they removed several pictures from the profile of Kendall Jones, a Texas Tech cheerleader and wild game hunter. Jones will star in an upcoming show about African hunting on the Sportsman Channel, but recently became the target of animals rights activists because of her animal trophy photos.
Jones recently went on safari in Zimbabwe, where she shot and killed several endangered species, such as a leopard and rhino. While many consider her to be perpetuating the endangerment of these species, Jones argues she is helping to conserve them. In Jones' Twitter profile, she describes herself as a "huntress and conservationist".
These types of safaris are generally very expensive. The auction of an opportunity to hunt a rare black rhino went up to $350,000 in January. The money can go towards conservation, and in certain cases, the only animals that can be hunted are those which have broken from their pack, or have caused other damage, as defined by the gamekeeper. Regardless of the motive or where funds go, the animals are still killed, and can be made into trophies for the hunter to take home. During her trips, Jones does choose to donate the meat of the animals killed rather than discard it completely.
On her Facebook page, Jones cites Dennis Ikanda, director of the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute's Kingupira Research Centre, who notes his center earned $75 million by allowing some lions to be hunted from 2008 to 2011. This money was then used to benefit research and aid to the other lions overall. Melissa Simpson made the same argument in National Geographic, arguing that while photo safaris are popular, hunting safaris allow wildlife management to exist in Tanzania,
Tanzania also has 15 photo-safari areas, which have been lauded as a non-consumptive alternative to traditional hunting tourism. Unfortunately, only 4 of the 15 photo-safari areas are financially viable. The remaining 11 are subsidized by hunter-generated funds. So without the financial resources provided by hunters to protect habitat and stop poachers, there would be no infrastructure for wildlife management.
The photos Jones posted were from a recent trip to Zimbabwe, at an unspecified safari location. It is unknown whether this particular hunt profited from conservation efforts, through which organization it was booked, nor if the meat was donated. Jones did not immediately return request for comment.
Initially, it was assumed the photos were removed because animal activists complained and reported the photos. However, Facebook has clarified that the pictures directly violate their terms of service. Facebook's terms have always included "graphic images shared for sadistic effect or to celebrate or glorify violence" but in this case, Facebook elaborated specifically about hunting photos.