Trophy hunter poses with ‘Valentine’s gift’ – the heart of giraffe she just shot

Trophy hunter poses with ‘Valentine’s gift’ – the heart of giraffe she just shot

A trophy hunter poses with her “perfect” Valentine’s gift – the heart of a giraffe she’s just shot.

Merelize Van Der Merwe, 32, boasts of how her “wonderful” husband spent £1,500 to make her five-year dream come true at a game park last Sunday.

The sick photo she proudly posted on her Facebook page has caused outrage among animal rights campaigners.

But the defiant mum astonishingly insists killing the ageing bull giraffe helps SAVE threatened species in South Africa – a claim dismissed by conservationists.

Van Der Merwe, who started hunting at five and has killed up to 500 animals including lions, leopards and elephants, says she posted the snap to taunt the animal rights lobby.

“I have no respect for them – I call them the mafia,” she said before excitedly telling all about her dream day.

The couple had been planning a Valentine’s trip to the resort of Sun City when a pal called her to say a kill she coveted had been spotted in a game park.

“I’d waited years for my own perfect bull – the older a bull gets the darker he gets,” she said. “I love the skin and the fact it’s such an iconic animal for Africa.

“Our plans changed quickly. My wonderful husband Gerhardt knew this was my dream. I was like a child for two weeks, counting the days. Afterwards I was flooded with emotions.”

She plans to use her 17-year-old victim’s skin as a rug – and posted her pic with the comment: “Ever wondered how big a giraffe’s heart is? I’m over the moon with my Valentines present!!!”

Van Der Merwe – who runs a citrus farm in South Africa’s northern Limpopo province– claimed her kill “created work for 11 people that day” and “a lot of meat for the locals”.

She claimed the death of the old bull would mean “a new bull can take over and provide new strong genetics for the herd”.

Merelize van der Merwe poses with the giraffe she killed
Merelize van der Merwe poses with the giraffe she killed

She added: “If hunting is banned, animals will become worthless and will disappear. Hunting has helped bring back a lot of species from the brink of extinction. The only people protecting these animals are trophy hunters.”

She also believes hunting protects thousands of jobs in tourism.

But Dr Mark Jones of the Born Free Foundation told us: “Trophy hunters’ claims they are concerned about wildlife conservation are highly misleading. Trophy hunting is not a conservation tool, nor does it contribute significant funds to local communities.”

She captioned the post: 'Ever wondered how big a giraffe's heart is'
She captioned the post: ‘Ever wondered how big a giraffe’s heart is’

Elisa Allen, of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said: “Someone who kills another sentient being, cuts out their heart, and boasts about it fits the definition of a sociopath.

“One day, trophy hunting will be listed as a sign of a psychiatric disorder, as it should be today. It is grandiosity, serial killing, and bloodlust paired with a burning desire to show off.”

This article was first published by The Mirror on 20 February 2021. Lead Image: The hunt had been arranged by her husband over Valentine’s weekend.

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