A 12-Year-Old Big-Game Hunter Is Getting Online Death Threats Over Her Hunting Photos

Aryanna Gourdin is a pint-sized big-game hunter who, at just 12, has already been on hunting and fishing expeditions with her father Eli Gourdin all over the world. Last week Aryanna and her father traveled from their home in Utah to South Africa for a hunting trip, where she took down a giraffe — calling it “one of her dream hunts” in a post on her Facebook page, “Braids and Bows,” alongside a photo posing with the dead animal.

Although Gourdin has been maintaining a public page detailing her hunting exploits for a few years now, this time her photo went viral, with more than 73,000 comments from mostly outraged people calling her “sick” and an “animal hater” and even making death threats. If Cecil the Lion has taught us anything, people feel very passionately when it comes to big-game hunting, as for many it’s impossible to bear the thought of these majestic creatures being killed for sport.

In response to the hate she received, Gourdin did something quite remarkable for a girl her age, and took to Facebook to write a lengthy and impassioned defense of legal big-game hunting, admonishing poachers and illegal hunters. While you may or may agree with her sentiments, you can’t say that she doesn’t at least make an articulate and well-presented case for herself.

Below is just one excerpt, although you can read the rest here.

Although people may find it hard to believe, especially due to recent events, the hunting of endangered species is actually one of the only things helping them today. Controversy in the media has sparked a discussion that wasn’t happening mere months ago; about whether or not trophy hunting is good for endangered species. Although there are flaws in the current system, (poachers posing as ethical hunters for example), trophy hunting remains the only effective way to obtain money for conservation efforts. In order to hunt an animal such as the African white Rhinoceros (only 5 of which are able to be legally hunted a year), permits are sold for as high as $350,000. (Allen, 2015) What people don’t realize, is that much of this money goes towards conservation efforts. (In fact, according to a 2006 study, out of 150 trophy hunters interviewed, 86% stated they preferred hunting in an area where they know their money goes towards conservation efforts.) (Goldman, 2014) The reason people don’t believe trophy hunting is good for endangered species is simple: too much poor media focus is being put on the few animals legally killed, and not the hundreds illegally poached each year.

Aryanna and her father also maintain the giraffe they shot was a problem animal, which was “eating up valuable resources other giraffes need to survive.” And even then the animal’s death was not for naught, as the meat from the kill was donated to a local village where it will be used to feed hundreds of orphans.

(Via Yahoo! News)