Controversy erupted after pictures of Jones posing with the bodies of lions, zebras, rhinos, cheetahs and hippos appeared on Facebook. Immediately, a petition was launched asking Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to remove the photos, and so far, that petition has close to 200,000 signatures.
Still, despite intense criticism, Jones is defending her actions and says that she’s actually helping to save the endangered species rather than killing them all off, as it would appear in the photos.
“This is a conservation effort to assure [sic] that they never do become extinct,” said Jones in a Facebook post.
Jones also compared herself to President Teddy Roosevelt, who she said was a conservationist that still went out and hunted.
“He was a hunter too, right? He killed the same species that hunters now chase today under a mound of anti-hunting pressure,” wrote Jones. “Yet, how can it be possible that someone can love the earth, and take from the Earth in the name of conservation? For some folks, they'll never understand. For the rest of us...we were born that way. God Bless Teddy.”
“In modern day in age, killing an endangered species to save it is just unacceptable,” said Jeffery Flocken, North American Director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, to ABC News.
Reports also point to a February, 2013, segment from a local Texas news station which featured Jones as their Scholar Athlete of the Week in which she proudly discussed her love of animals, specifically her pet dogs.
“Yes, I have two of my own,” said Jones during the interview.
Another petition to get Jones banned from hunting in Africa alleges that her motives for killing the animals and posing with their bodies in pictures on social media are not as sincere as she claims.
“Kendall Jones is an American born hunter who has entered the continent and has been hunting African wildlife under the facade of conservation,” reads the petition. “She has publicly stated that she hopes to have a television hunting show and she is using endangered and helpless African animals as a stepping to further her popularity on social media platforms.”
The pictures are deeply disturbing, however, and it’s difficult to see how killing the endangered animals is actually helping to save them in the long run.
Sources: Yahoo News, Daily Mail, Fox Sports