PICS: Death threats over 12-year-old girl's big game hunt in SA


Cape Town - Another controversial hunt from an American in Africa has sparked outrage among conservationists globally. 

This time, however, the hunt took place in South Africa. And the hunter is Aryanna Gourdin, a 12-year-old girl from Cove, Utah, in the US. 

Gourdin has been trolled online after posting pictures of her big game kills on Facebook last week. The photos included a slain giraffe, a zebra and a wildebeest. 

In an interview with Good Morning America on Wednesday, 17 August, Aryanna said she's not bothered by the backlash, and that no one's opinion could ever drive her to give up the hobby she loves.

"It's something I cherish and enjoy and I want other people to see what I experienced," she says. "'I would never back down from hunting. I am a hunter and no matter what people say to me, I'm never going to stop." 

You can watch the interview here: 




In the interview, Aryanna's dad Eli says the giraffe his daughter killed was actually a 'problem' animal in the area, "eating up valuable resources other giraffes need to survive". 

He also said the meat from the animals they killed will go to feeding 800 orphans in the local village.

The exact location of where the hunt took place in SA is unknown, and it remains unclear whether the meat of the animals actually aided 'orphans'. 

Regardless of the father-and-daughter team's campaigning for hunting, there has been severe backlash from conservationists and animal lovers across the globe over the photos. 

The photo showing Aryanna with a dead giraffe earned the most aggressive comments. One social media user wrote, "[I] literally hope someone skins you". 

Many gruesome death threats targeting the 12-year-old were also published to Facebook. "Do the world a favour and kill yourself already before someone else makes you disappear," one reads. 

Aryanna's hunt has been described as 'the most famous case of a US hunter going to kill animals in Africa since Walter Palmer', the Minnesota dentist who killed the famous Cecil the lion on a hunting trip to Zimbabwe in July 2015. 

With Palmer's hunt, many hunters argued that Big Game hunts like his are often the biggest capital drivers behind conservation efforts. Apart from that, the meat from the hunts are given to locals, and the animals killed are often problem animals for local communities, hunters argue. 

The Gourdins are singing the same 'hunting for conservation' tune. 

But, a comprehensive new review researching the threats to global biodiversity indicates a fatally flawed 'conservation' system. 

‘Sustainable utilisation’ is a catch phrase that is as fashionable in wildlife conservation circles as it is controversial. In essence, it suggests that natural resources – in this instance wild animals – can be ‘harvested’ in a way that will not endanger the continued survival of the species in question. 

Furthermore, proponents argue that this form of commercial exploitation is a legitimate (some would say the only) way to raise the money required to fund conservation measures.

Conservation journalist Andreas Wilson-Späth writes that this sentiment supports "claims by the hunting fraternity that killing animals for sport contributes to their conservation, and it forms the basis for arguments that legalising the international trade in products such as elephant ivory and rhino horns will reduce poaching."

READ MORE: Over-exploitation is the biggest threat to wildlife

In an article published in the prestigious journal Nature this month, a group of conservation scientists assess the factors which are driving wild species towards extinction. They identify overexploitation, including hunting, as the biggest threat.


What to read next on Traveller24

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Over-exploitation is the biggest threat to wildlife

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