Pixaby | Rene Rauschenberger

Trophy Hunter Defends Killing Rare Black Giraffe And Claims It Was 'Delicious'

A female trophy hunter who went viral last year after pictures emerged featuring her posing with a rare black giraffe she shot has now come forward to defend her actions, claiming the dead animal was "delicious", CBS News reported.

Giraffes have quietly slipped onto the list of endangered species.

Unsplash | Kelly Arnold

As of 2018, certain species of giraffes have been classified as "critically endangered" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on its Red List of at-risk animals.

Human population growth currently poses the largest threat to these animals, with the loss of habitat as urban areas grow and the rise of illegal hunting among the worst of these offenses.

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Giraffes are among several animal species that face extinction due to the sport of trophy hunting.

Unsplash | Nikolay Tchaouchev

According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), giraffes in particular are hunted for their uniquely spotted skin and for their meat.

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In 2017, an American trophy hunter posted photos featuring her posing with a black giraffe she had just shot and killed.

Facebook | Tess Thompson Talley

Tess Thompson Talley's since-deleted post included the caption, "Prayers for my once in a lifetime dream hunt came true today! Spotted this rare black giraffe bull and stalked him for quite a while. I knew it was the one. He was over 18 years old, 4000 lbs. and was blessed to be able to get 2000 lbs. of meat from him.”

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The photos didn't spark public outrage until 2018 when they resurfaced again on Twitter.

The South Africa-based group AfricLand Post shared the pictures on Twitter last June, offering Talley's full name and branding her "[part] neanderthal".

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People online were furious to see the photos of Talley standing proudly next to her kill.

Comments on the Twitter post ranged from those who were expressing their mourning for the animal to those calling out Talley for killing the giraffe.

"Tess Thompson Talley is an embarrassment to our country," one user wrote. "This is unacceptable moronic behavior. Where is the glory in killing one of nature's most majestic and harmless animals with a weapon that takes ANY claim of 'sport' out of the equation."

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Others called Talley out for hunting such an nonthreatening animal, like a giraffe.

"If you pride yourself at killing animals, how about a really fast and powerful one," one Twitter user wrote in response to the photos. "A giraffe? That's so cruel. So, so cruel."

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After receiving much backlash in response to the photos, Talley eventually broke her silence.

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In an interview with Fox News last year, she defended her actions and claimed the black giraffe "breed is not rare in any way other than it was very old. Giraffes get darker with age."

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Now, one year later, she's spoken out against the criticism she got from the public and defended her kill once again.

Facebook | Tess Thompson Talley

"It's been hell. I have encountered cameras at my work, I've received mail at my home, text messages," Talley told CBC News.

She's also still receiving messages of hate over the photo, and said she was just recently sent a death threat: "Watch your back, the hunt is on. I know where you are, and I'm coming for you."

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However, despite all the outrage and hate, Talley says she has no intentions of "[backing] down".

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"I'm gonna stand up for what I do, for what I believe, and everyone else that does it as well," she said, insisting that her killing of the giraffe was part of a conservation effort and that she was doing her part to help.

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When asked why she didn't just donate money to fund conservation efforts instead, Talley said she prefers to help her own way.

Unsplash | Pepi Stojanovski

"I would rather do what I love to do, rather than just give a lump sum of cash somewhere and not know particularly where that is going."

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Talley also said there is a level of respect felt between a hunter and their prey, even for big game hunters.

"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."

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As for the giraffe she shot, Talley said it was "delicious."

Unsplash | Harshil Gudka

"Not only was he beautiful and majestic, but he was good," she said, revealing that following her hunt, she turned the animal's skin into a gun case and throw pillows for her home.

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Kitty Block, CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, condemned the act of trophy hunting for sport.

Unsplash | howling red

"It's important to have wild animals thrive, but why is the price of that this needless slaughter of these animals for their parts?" she said. "It diminishes what wildlife is. If they can be reduced to a chair, to a knife handle — that's no trade-off."

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Block said giraffe numbers are continuing to dwindle with the rise of trophy hunting in Africa.

Unsplash | Rose Lamond

"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 U.S. over the last decade. More than one giraffe is killed every day,"

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