Trophy Hunter Thinks She’s a Hero for Killing a Giraffe

With a giraffe lying lifeless beside her, Tess Thompson Talley posed for a photo holding the rifle she used to kill him in one hand, pointing her other hand up at the sky.

“Prayers for my once-in-a-lifetime dream hunt came true today!” the Kentucky resident wrote in a since-deleted post on her Facebook page.

She’s pointing in the wrong direction. It’s highly doubtful that any supreme being would approve of what she did – nor do many of us mere mortals who are outraged by this and another photo of her taken in 2017 that recently went viral.

AfricaDigest, which posted the photos on Twitter, referred to Talley as a “white American savage who is partly a neanderthal.”

Talley begs to differ. In fact, she considers herself a hero. “This is called conservation through game management,” she trophyhuntersplained in a statement to CBS News. She claimed her victim was “beyond breeding age, yet had killed three younger bulls… Now that the giraffe is gone, the younger bulls are able to breed.”

One person who has defended Talley is, naturally, the president of Safari Club International.

“She was hunting in South Africa and giraffes are legal to hunt in South Africa,” Paul Babaz, head of the hunting advocacy association, told CBS News.

Besides, he added, the trophy fee for killing a giraffe is $2,000 to $3,000, which helps support the local communities (not to mention the for-profit companies that organize the safaris). Babaz said the giraffe provided 2,000 pounds of meat to hungry villagers, although there’s no documentation proving this.

And here’s the clincher: By killing the giraffe, Babaz said, Talley prevented him from being killed by poachers.

It is true that Talley’s victim was a South African giraffe, whose population has increased 167 percent over the past four decades, to around 21,000. It was not a “rare black” giraffe; the 14-year-old’s coat had naturally darkened with age.

But it’s also true that giraffes are on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s Red List as a vulnerable species. Their total population has dwindled 40 percent over the past 25 years. Dr. Julian Fennessy, co-chair of the IUCN giraffe specialist group, referred to this as a “silent extinction” because their population has declined so much in so little time.

Does trophy hunting really protect wildlife?

Talley and other trophy hunters (like Cecil the lion’s killer, Walter Palmer, to whom people are comparing Talley) who get their kicks by shooting giraffes and other animals like to say they are helping with conservation – but that is not necessarily true.

The 2016 report Missing the Mark: African Hunting Fails to Show Consistent Conservation Benefits concluded that there’s little evidence that the profits from trophy hunting — up to a whopping $2 billion annually in South Africa – are really helping conservation efforts. While some revenue did go to local governments, there’s no documentation on exactly how it was spent.

Instead of hunting these animals, wildlife tourism is much more beneficial for conservation, Iris Ho, wildlife program manager at Humane Society International, told CBS News.

After Talley’s photos went viral, she complained that she has received thousands of angry emails. “Some of the most vile things have been directed at me and many other women hunters,” she said in a statement.

Sure, words can hurt, but you know what’s truly vile? Making a “lifetime dream” come true by killing a magnificent creature.

Take Action

Please sign and share this petition urging the government of South Africa to ban the horrible practice of trophy hunting and create policies that truly help with wildlife conservation.

Want to make a difference on an issue you find deeply troubling? You, too, can create a Care2 petition, and use this handy guide to get started. You’ll find Care2’s vibrant community of activists ready to step up and help you.


Photo credit: TheDigitalArtist


Marie W
Marie W2 days ago

Thank you for sharing

susan a
susan aabout a month ago

The true face of ugliness!!!Africa also needs to get behind the protection of it's wildlife from poachers AND these so called"conservationist trophy hunters""(murderers for kicks in fact)instead of allowing widespread corruption!

shana l
shana l6 months ago

This woman is an abomination and should be hung from a high tree by her feet. She should have her throat slit and die a slow and painful death with friends and family watching her torture.

Judy t
Judy thorpe6 months ago

Trophy hunter's always say "the animal was old and we used the meat to feed the villagers." So that excuse makes it ok plus the old line "conservation" which they have run that excuse into the ground. I also blame Africa for letting this senseless eliminating of wildlife to continue. They also have no respect for the animals and the future looks dim for their survival.

Therese Kutscheid
Therese Kutscheid6 months ago

Looking through remarks that people did write about that sick o so ‘brave’ women, I believe that everyone is more forgiving and better hearted as I am.
Animal is dead, there is nothing it can be done about that. I hope and wish for Talley that she never has a peaceful night sleep for the rest of her life

Helene L
Helene L6 months ago

How can you blame someone for their actions when they're obviously weak-minded and empty hearted?

Chrissie R
Chrissie R6 months ago

The atrocious language used by some commentors prove they are no better than the person they're insulting.
Also, try doing some research and getting factual information before making a judgement based on someone's misinformed and volatile social media opinion.

Georgina M
Georgina Elizab M6 months ago

Calling her names won't do any good.She seems so very determined that she's saving mankind by killing the day she will grow weak too?

Dot A
Dot A6 months ago

@ Chrissie R., - regarding the human murdering of such a beautiful old gent of a giraffe to procreate the population, reasoning. I did not find that the female giraffes are not producing any offspring. In the wild, the females wonder away to mate with the males far from the herd if they wish to breed. Some females aren't eager to mate. Some would prefer to be sexual with the leader of the herd. Female's choice. It seems us homo sapiens want to control other species sexual activity as well as control our own female reproductive decisions. We are quite a bunch of control freaks,... And the rational for murdering goes on, with the support of the NRA.

Nicole H
Nicole Heindryckx6 months ago

@ Zef Rose : Your comment is totally based on being a Christian, and all the wrong there is in the Only religion, viz. Christianity. I am not a bible reader, I certainly don't know all the various things written in it. But I know Franciscus of Assisi. He was a Christian man as well. He devoted all his time (and money ?) to help the poor and suffering animals. Did you never hear or read anything about him. And if Christianity is so bad and wrong, why do we learn than that we should love each other as we love ourselves ? That we should not murder or kill ? That we should honor our parents and grandparents ? That's all in the bible as well. When you read a book, you should read it in full, and not only the parts that are convenient to you.