PunditFact checks cheerleader's big game hunting claim

Tampa, Florida -- She's the hunter who became the hunted. Now it appears that Kendall Jones has become a political pundit.

Jones is the 19-year-old cheerleader from Texas Tech University who caused an uproar on the internet after she posted photos from a hunting trip to Zimbabwe to her Facebook page. The pictures show her smiling next to carcasses of animals she hunted -- including a lion, leopard and an elephant. The photos outraged animal lovers and even spawned a short-lived "Kill Kendall Jones" page on Facebook.

Now Jones is firing back at her critics. She says her critics are missing the point -- that hunting tourism in parts of Africa helps control wildlife populations. She recently posted a quote from National Geographic on her page:

"Without the financial resources provided by hunters to protect habitat and stop poachers there would be no infrastructure for wildlife management."

In other words, without hunters like her, wildlife lovers would have no animals to look at.

PunditFact wondered if Jones has her facts straight. Fact-checkers discovered that hunting does play a part in wildlife management, but just a part.

"Really the consensus is that the number on driver of wildlife management is eco-tourism," says PunditFact Editor Aaron Sharockman. "People are going to places in Africa to take photos or going on safaris to see these big, huge, beautiful animals but not necessarily kill them."

Original story: Cheerleader's hunting photos causes Internet outrage

In fact, PunditFact's research found in some areas of Africa the hunting industry is actually contributing to wildlife declines.

"We're not saying that hunting doesn't provide a benefit to keeping or creating these big preserves. They do," says Sharockman. "They help fund keeping these animals alive through wildlife management. But they're not the only thing."

But because Jones claimed wildlife management is solely supported by big game hunts, PunditFact rated her claim FALSE.


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