She poses standing, a gigantic giraffe heart in her hand. With this photo posted on social networks, the South African Merelize Van Der Merwe provoked the ire of Internet users: passionate about hunting and adept of trophy animals – she would have killed more than 500 – the young woman of 32 years recounted that this was her “Valentine’s Day gift”.

It was her husband, she tells the Daily Mirror, who offered her this hunting trip for an amount equivalent to 1,500 dollars. The price of his dream. “I waited years for the perfect male giraffe – the older he is, the darker he is,” she told the British newspaper. She now wants to make her trophy … a carpet. “I love his skin and the fact that it is such an iconic animal of Africa,” she added.

Merelize Van Der Merwe admits she posted the heart shot of her take to annoy those committed to animal rights. “I hate them, I call them the mafia,” she explains. On her Facebook wall, the young woman multiplies provocative posts, including the famous photo (attention shocking image) which has earned her dozens of disapproving comments. But the hunter defends herself: according to her, killing this giraffe made it possible to make “eleven people” work and “to provide meat to the local population”. She also explains that these hunting parties help to regulate the fauna and boost tourism.

False according to Mark Jones, of the Born Free association which defends animal rights. “People who hunt for trophies claim their concern for wildlife and its conservation, he told the Daily Mirror. Trophy hunting is not a way to conserve biodiversity, nor a way to fund communities. local “.

On the side of the NGO PETA, Elisa Allen, director of the British branch of the organization for the defense of animals has associated trophy hunting with a psychiatric illness. “Someone who kills another living being, cuts out his heart and brags about it falls within the definition of a sociopath,” she said indignantly.

A petition entitled “Ban the giraffe slayer Merelize van der Merwe from Facebook”, addressed directly to the social network has also been published. Wednesday afternoon it just exceeded 12,000 signatures.

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