Beverley Mitchell

Texas Cheerleader Claims Hunting the "Big 5" in Africa is Conservation

by , 07/06/14

19-year-old Kendall Jones, a cheerleader from Texas, has been hunting big game in Africa with her father for 10 years. Following in the footsteps of the reviled Melissa Bachman, she claims that her efforts to bag the Big 5 — elephant, rhino, lion, leopard, and Cape buffalo — are in fact “conservation.” With two online petitions currently being waged to either stop her activities or prevent her from promoting them through social media, it is apparent that many others see the situation differently.


Jones travels to Africa regularly and purchases CITES-approved permits to hunt big game. She argues that by thinning out the herd or apex predators she is assisting diminishing populations to survive in reduced habitat. She also argues that the funds from her hunting licenses are used to support conservation activities in the countries in which she hunts. Critics counter that a donation of the cost of the hunt would achieve the same result without necessitating the death of endangered or vulnerable-listed animals. Commercial elephant hunt prices start at around $22,000, not including airfares.

Related: Infamous Permit to Hunt One of the Last Black Rhinos in the World Auctioned for $350,000 in Dallas

To her credit, Jones has documented her own involvement in one incidence of tranquilizing a rhino so that it could be measured, DNA tested and treated for a wound. Again, she uses this as evidence of her conservationalist credentials. However, also documented on her Facebook page is her first African kill: an endangered white rhino. With a similarly skewed logic, Jones has also documented elephant kills and proudly argues that locals then turned up in droves to collect the “protein,” thereby allowing her to do her bit to feed the hungry. The fact that hundreds of thousands of other herd animals that she could shoot for food and that are not on the vulnerable list abound on the same plains seems to have escaped her, and this is the crux of the argument against her.

Jones’s claims to be a conservationalist are tenuous at best, and there are certainly many less ethically questionable ways to support African conservation efforts than by spending a large amount of money to travel to Africa to shoot elephants and lions. Similarly, if she as a dedicated hunter wishes to provide food for herself and others, leopards and rhinos are not the most logical targets. Jones has publicly stated that she wishes to front her own television show by January, 2015. The attention she draws by killing big trophy game and then posting smiling photos of herself hugging a dead leopard or standing atop a slain elephant goes a long way towards achieving that goal. Her career ambitions and the thrill of the kill are clearly her main motivations.

Related: President Obama Issues Executive Order to Protect Africa’s Elephants and Rhinos

There are two online petitions currently open against Jones, one to stop Kendall Jones from hunting in Africa and one demanding that Facebook remove Kendall Jones’s page as it promotes animal cruelty. What is worth ackowledging here though is that all of Jones’s African big game hunting is legal and licensed. Demanding action from CITES and national governments to stop issuing licenses to hunt vulnerable and endangered African big game will ultimately do more to prevent trophy hunting. Unfortunately though, it would also pose the risk of driving determined hunters into the unregulated black market.

Via The Huffington Post and The Daily Mail

Photos by Kendall Jones via Facebook

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7 Comments

  1. Bruno Domingues July 7, 2014 at 2:38 am

    CITE is the one issuing permits to hunt these animals, making it legal. The “cheerleader” is just taking advantage of this and the fact CITE uses that money to preserve species to claim she’s doing “preservation”.

    In the article is criticizing her argument of feeding the hungry… I think it kinda misses the point, her objective when hunting is not to feed the hungry therefore it is logical she would not be hunting animals specifically to feed the hungry but for a different purpose which would then feed the hungry by consequence.

    There’s plenty of people like her in Africa, only when money stops ruling the world this might change, until then hunting protected species is a “VIP” privilege.

    The fact the media advertise this so widely is about audiences not really about the animals… do they mount a 24/7 watch on all the hunting cases by regular hunters?
    Not really… just on this girl because she’s news material.

    Just look at how many permits are issued by CITE… did any of those show on the news?

    This girl is just 1 in thousands… I think these articles on the news are promoting hunting more than the girl itself. I can imagine some hunters who just read it and realized how a good idea is to go and buy a permit and go to Africa to hunt so they can brag to their friends.

    I hope the petitions help in some way, slaughtering animals for fun makes no sense. I would enjoy though seeing a leopard hunt her down. lol :)

  2. Robert Ebersold July 6, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    Conservation does not involve killing an animal that does not have enough of its species to become a threat to the habitat. Once the ‘hunters’ are ‘driven to the unregulated black market’ (a.k.a. Poaching), just sell licenses to hunt the poachers.

  3. James Perry Jr. July 6, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    Just like instead of making commercials to get people to donate to te starving kids, then paying for air time or those commercials, ALL that money could be spent to HELP the starving… right?

  4. Jonny Costa July 3, 2014 at 8:18 am

    but then again she is from a state that advocates murder of anything any chance it gets.

  5. Jonny Costa July 3, 2014 at 8:17 am

    Conservation is green dart hunting, where animals are still alive can be tagged tracked even posed for photograph and moved.

    conservation is not sport murder.

    justifying sport killing is something only ignorant monsters still advocate, there is absolutely no reason for it nor is there any longer any excuse.

  6. Debbie Valenta July 2, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    Bloodthirsty Barbie. I’m not even a vegetarian or anti-hunting but this makes me fucking sick. Last time I checked, killing endangered species wasn’t conservation.

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