UPDATE: Texas Tech cheerleader's controversial pics banned by Facebook
JUL 02, 2014 4:13p ET
UPDATE: Texas Tech cheerleader Kendall Jones' controversial photos of her hunting kills have been banned by Facebook.
The social media site said it removed the photos, which sparked uproar by animal right activists, because they fell under the category of "content that promotes poaching of endangered species, the sale of animals for organized fight or content that includes extreme acts of animal abuse."
Jones, her family and her supporters have defended the 19-year-old's actions, pointing out that they broke no laws and actually help control animal populations and benefit the native people. Jones even cited former U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt as a fellow big game hunter.
"How can it be possible that someone can love the earth, and take from the earth in the name of conservation? For some folks, they'll never understand. For the rest of us ... we were born that way. God Bless Teddy," Jones said on Facebook.
But more than 130,000 people signed an online petition to remove her photos from Facebook.
A 19-year-old cheerleader for the Texas Tech Red Raiders is defending herself from the jeers of critics, who say her hobby of hunting big-game animals -- and documenting it on Facebook -- promotes animal cruelty.
Kendall Jones of Cleburne, Texas, has been posting images of herself posing with some of the animals she's hunted in Africa, including lions, leopards and more -- much to the dismay of animal rights groups. There's a petition requesting that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg have Jones' page removed "for the sake of all animals, especially the animals in the African region ... where hunters are going for fun just to kill an animal!"
But on her Facebook page, Jones takes issue with her critics, claiming that her efforts in Africa are about wildlife conversation. For instance, when it comes to lions, she has this to say on one of her image posts:
"Controlling the male lion population is important within large fenced areas like these in order to make sure the cubs have a high survival rate. Funds from a hunt like this goes partially to the government for permits but also to the farm owner as an incentive to keep and raise lions on their property."
As for an image of her with a rhinocerous, Jones says the animal was merely "darted and immobilized" for testing, injury treatment and microchipping:
"The vet drew blood, took DNA samples, took body and head measurements, treated a leg injury and administered antibiotics. I felt very lucky to be part of such a great program and procedure that helps the White Rhino population through conservation."
"This was a free ranging leopard in Zimbabwe on communal land," Jones posted. "The money for the permit goes to the communal council and to their village people. ... Leopard populations have to be controlled in certain areas."
Jones claims her efforts have other benefits. A video on her page purports "to show how excited these villagers were to get some elephant meat and protein! This one animal alone feeds 100+ families!"
What's more, it sounds like Jones' career, too, might benefit. Per Yahoo/"Good Morning America":
According to Jones' Facebook page, the cheerleader may have found a way to turn the controversy into a future in television. Jones posted that she would be hosting her own reality TV show on the Sportsman Channel next year.
Jones' arguments don't seem to be swaying her critics, like those behind a petition at Change.org that aims to "ban and deny access for hunter Kendall Jones to African States," claiming she is hunting "under the facade of conservation" and at the expense of "endangered and helpless African animals."
But Jones' posts indicate she disagrees. In one post -- accompanied by a photo of an armed President Theodore Roosevelt standing over a rhino -- she writes: "For some folks, they'll never understand."