Cape Town – Merelize van der Merwe remains unrepentant despite a global outcry after she posted a photo of her holding the heart of a dead giraffe on Facebook.
A petition has even been started to remove the Limpopo woman from Facebook – she has nearly 100 000 followers. Van der Merwe had been gifted the expensive giraffe hunt as a Valentine's Day present from her husband.
She insists killing the ageing bull giraffe helps save threatened species in South Africa. Van der Merwe, who started hunting at the age of five and has killed up to 500 animals, including lions, leopards and elephants, says she posted the snap to taunt the animal rights lobby, the Mirror reported.
One Facebook user said: ’’I’m not an animal rights activist or conservationist, I generally don’t get involved with FB banter (everyone entitled to an opinion), however, I have to say, I believe you are one sick woman.’’
This was after the 32-year-old Van der Merwe – undeterred by countless comments condemning her actions – had defended trophy hunting yesterday, saying: ’’Trophy hunting has been the cause for the massive growth of private land transforming to wildlife, moving from cattle and other forms of farming. This has allowed for the sustainable management of wildlife on huge tracts of private land.
’’This has seen a massive increase in game numbers and has played a significant role in saving certain species from extinction such as the white rhino, bontebok and Cape mountain zebra which are now arguably more plentiful on private land than on national and provincial parks.’’
She also posted a link to a Daily Maverick article which began: ’’You may not like trophy hunting but do not try to kill the industry. The alternatives are far worse and the consequences far-reaching.’’
Earlier she posted: ’’When a hunter can look at millions of hectares of land that was once cattle farms turned back into game farms, we can be proud, because if not for hunting, we wouldn't be home to 24 million head of game that roam on more than 20 million ha of agricultural land. In a country with 56,717,156 people, we as hunters achieved this – not animal rights activists or the mafia as I call them.’’
’’You can p*** and moan all you want, use as much vulgar language, threaten me as much as you want but you can't say hunting isn't conservation!’’
The petition, signed so far by over 25 000 people, stated: "On her ’public figure’ page, this monster shares images of the endangered species she massacres. Amongst them are giraffes, elephants and leopards.
’’She also shares imagery and videos of herself covered in blood, of dead children and her and her fellow barbarians chopping up their victims.
’’Why does Facebook, a supposed site with family values, allow this? Instead, they should do the decent thing: Ban her.’’