The Internet has set its sights on a 19-year-old Texas Tech cheerleader who posted photos to her Facebook page documenting her big-game hunting exploits in Africa. Kendall Jones' bio recounts her hunting experience—a trip to Zimbabwe at age 9 where she was "just too small to hold the guns" followed by a South Africa trip at 13 where "the first animal I ever shot was a White Rhino with a .416 Remington!!" A year after that she bagged an elephant, "a charging Cape buffalo and a huge maned lion," and a leopard. The photos of her with her kills aren't going over well, with a 104,000-signature-strong petition asking Mark Zuckerberg to take down the photos, which the petition charges promote animal cruelty. A second petition is seeking to deny her access to African states.
The Cleburne resident talked to the Cleburne Times-Review—via email from Africa, where she's been hunting for weeks—and explained that she knew when she posted the photos there would be some backlash. But "I really am shocked" at the severity of it. "I have actually had several death threats." Jones maintains that hunters care about conservation more than most, and noted one experience in Zimbabwe, where leopards had taken out 107 cattle; "instead of the villagers killing the leopards to prevent livestock damage, permits are sold to hunters to do this for them," with the permit money benefiting the village. A Facebook rep tells NBC News some photos were removed, though they didn't get into specifics beyond a general statement that "we remove reported content that promotes poaching of endangered species, the sale of animals for organized fight, or content that includes extreme acts of animal abuse." In the meantime, plenty more remain. (Read more Kendall Jones stories.)