Earlier this month, sordid pictures of the 32-year-old woman clutching onto the organ were posted on Merelize van der Merwe’s Facebook page
Trigger Warning: This story contains graphic images of hunted/dead animals that readers may find disturbing
A farm owner in South Africa is being heavily scrutinized for posing with the heart of a giraffe that she shot and killed while on a trophy hunting trip. Earlier this month, sordid pictures of the 32-year-old woman clutching onto the organ were posted on Merelize van der Merwe’s Facebook page. Ever wondered how big a giraffe's heart is? I'm absolutely over the moon with my BIG valentines present!!! read the caption of the post. In a separate Facebook post, Van Der Merwe was seen proudly holding a gun right next to the lifeless body of a huge giraffe. According to the Independent, the woman shared that she had been waiting since 2016 to hunt a "big black giraffe bull."
"I've hunted more animals than I can count but I still get excited every single time," she added. Apparently, this bloody trip, which took place near Sun City, northwest of Johannesburg, was arranged by her husband as a Valentine's Day gift. Van Der Merwe even described her hunt saying, "I couldn't believe my eyes, BIG BLACK and OLD, so old that he was way over his time and the owner didn't know if he will last another 3 months!!!" She continued, "My wonderful husband knew this was my dream and fully supported me from a romantic 5 star weekend away to roughing it again in the heat and bush."
Hunter kills rare giraffe then cuts out heart as sick Valentine’s Day 'gift'— Robb Edwards 🌱 (@RobRobbEdwards) February 21, 2021
Merelize Van Der Merwe said that killing the majestic animal had been on her bucket list for five yearshttps://t.co/HxRmfNkWpc
"I was literally like a little child for 2 weeks and counted down the days," she expressed. After the 17-year-old giraffe was killed, the woman said she was "flooded with emotions as I've been waiting years to have this opportunity!!" The giraffe she killed is listed as a "vulnerable" species by the Internation Union for Conservation of Nature. The trophy hunter then claimed that murdering the poor animal would mean "a new bull can take over and provide new strong genetics for the herd."
As expected most people on social media did not agree with her view and strongly criticized her actions in the comment section of her Facebook page. According to The Independent, one user wrote: I am completely SHOCKED by what you did to one of the most humble, endearing and beautiful animals on the planet. Another expressed: Shame on you. The director of the UK branch of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) group Elisa Allen also criticized the woman's actions and described them as "bloodlust paired with a burning desire to show off."
Unfortunately, something similar happened a few years ago, when an American hunter killed a black giraffe in South Africa and shared that she had no regrets about her choices, we reported. In 2018, 38-year-old Tess Thompson posted a picture proudly posing beside her kill. Speaking to CBS interviewer Adam Yamaguchi, Thompson revealed that she has made decorative pillows and a gun case out of the hide of the slain giraffe. She also referred to the animal as "delicious" after claiming that she had eaten it. But soon, the pictures of her trophy hunt went viral and sparked worldwide outrage.
White american savage who is partly a neanderthal comes to Africa and shoot down a very rare black giraffe coutrsey of South Africa stupidity. Her name is Tess Thompson Talley. Please share pic.twitter.com/hSK93DOOaz— AfricaDigest (@africlandpost) June 16, 2018
Justifying her actions, Thompson said that she killed the giraffe to prevent it from attacking younger giraffes. "This is called conservation through game management," she said. The following year, she appeared on CBS This Morning and explained how her hunting trips were actually helpful. "We are preserving... we are managing herds, we're managing numbers of wildlife," she said. When co-host Tony Dokoupil noted that she takes immense pleasure in hunting, Thompson said, "If you don't love what you do, you're not gonna continue to do it."
What the hell is wrong with these people??? https://t.co/gfywBPJuJK— Morgan Fairchild (@morgfair) February 23, 2021
"Everybody thinks that the easiest part is pulling the trigger. And it's not. 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," she continued. But Kitty Block, the president of the Humane Society of the United States, did not support her actions or views. "Trophy hunting of giraffe shows sheer and arrogant disregard for the imperiled status of an iconic species," she said in a statement to CBS News.
THIS IS SO SICKENING. Tess Thompson Talley I hope you get eaten by a pride of lions.— Chrishell (@Chrishell7) June 20, 2018
"Giraffes are facing a myriad of threats including poaching and habitat fragmentation. Their dire conservation status should not be further compounded by the horror of trophy hunters bent on killing them for senseless and gruesome trophies," she continued. "It's important to have wild animals thrive, but why is the price of that this needless slaughter of these animals for their parts? It diminishes what wildlife is. If they can be reduced to a chair, to a knife handle — that's no trade-off."