AUSTIN (CBS Houston) – A 19-year-old Texas Tech student is facing harsh criticism after posting photos on Facebook of animals that she has hunted in Africa.
Kendall Jones explained on her Facebook page that she caught the hunting bug from her father when she was 9 after he would bring home animals that he hunted in Africa.
"As badly as I wanted to shoot something, I was just too small to hold the guns my dad had brought," Jones shared on her Facebook page.
Jones shot a white rhino, her first kill, when she was 13 during her second trip to Africa.
"Although I had many other opportunities to shoot animals I wanted to save it for the Big 5, so the first animal I ever shot was a White Rhino with a .416 Remington!! On this trip I also took some plains game, such as impala, kudu and mountain reedbuck home," she wrote on her Facebook page.
Her Facebook page has more than 17,000 "likes," however not everyone who comments on her page or photos agrees with her actions.
In one photo, she is sitting on a rock with her camera crew posing next to a leopard that she hunted. In another photo, she is smiling over a lion she hunted.
"You say it's for conservation! If you really had a heart then there is no way you would be smiling and posing for a photo," one user wrote. "Instead you should be saddened that you have just taken the life of these majestic animals! You make me sick Kendall!"
The cheerleader explained that not all of the animals shown are killed and that they are involved in a "fair chase." She shared that some of them are only tranquilized for educational use.
An online petition was started on June 22 asking Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to remove Jones' photographs citing that she is promoting animal cruelty.
"For the sake of all animals, especially the animals in the African region… where hunters are going for fun just to kill an animal! Some people have been reporting the pages lately, but it seems Facebook is not concerned about what Kendall Jones is promoting in her page," the petition states.
More than 40,000 people have signed the petition and the goal is to reach 50,000 signatures.
Jones will star in a reality show beginning January 2015 on the Sportsman Channel.
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