The images where she poses proudly in front of the animal have not failed to cause controversy. A controversy that she says she does not understand, on the contrary.
In his own words, it is a ” dream Come true. For this Valentine’s Day, Merelize van der Merwe, a farmer who harvests lemons in South Africa, was originally due to go on a trip with her husband (regardless of the circulation of the South African variant of Covid-19). But eventually, the couple changed their plans. Instead, Merelize was offered … the chance to kill a giraffe. A ” valentine gift That she wouldn’t have refused for the world.
A hunter with angels
Merelize has indeed admitted that she has dreamed of being able to do this for years. When she received the hunting license, she therefore went to the savannah and sealed the fate of a giraffe who passed by there. Once the animal was slaughtered, she obviously did not fail to take a souvenir photo, posing with a big smile next to her trophy. To top it off, the hunter was even given the heart of the giraffe, to celebrate Valentine’s Day as it should.
Very quickly, the event made talk in South Africa, then in the rest of the world. Animal rights activists have gone to the front lines and criticized this shocking and bloody hunt relayed by shameless Merelize on Facebook. Since then, the hunter has reportedly received death threats.
The eternal debate on the profitability of hunting
For her part, the South African defends herself. According to her, the money from the hunting license makes it possible to finance nature reserves and therefore to save wildlife, an argument constantly repeated by the supporters of this practice. She estimates that her catch would have given work to eleven people, not to mention the distribution of meat for the locals.
What is certain is that this activity represents a considerable source of income. According to LCI, the hunting contracts awarded to hunt the “big five” (ie the most coveted animals) range from € 11,000 for the buffalo to € 110,000 for the white rhinoceros. A mine of money that some African countries do not want to do without, regardless of whether these animals are in danger of extinction (the conservation status of the giraffe is classified as “vulnerable”).
Experts have also disputed the argument of economic redistribution used by hunters. Australian economists have estimated that only 3% of the income related to this hunt actually reached local populations. The rest is diverted by industry, often outside the African continent, by corruption or ended up in state coffers via taxes.
However, some countries have decided to put an end to this trophy hunt. This has been the case in Kenya in particular, since 1977. Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, director of France and French-speaking Africa, also explains to L’Express that this practice has a lasting effect on ecosystems. In ten years, the population of sub-Saharan lions, for example, has collapsed by half. Céline Sissler-Bienvenu also asserts that income from ecotourism could replace income from hunting. ” Over time, a living elephant brings in more than a dead elephant », She assures.
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