A 12-year-old trophy hunter who was photographed holding a giraffe's heart in her hand, has vowed to never stop killing wild animals. Aryanna Gourdin has responded with defiance to a public backlash after she posted images on her Facebook page which show her proudly posing alongside a string of animals and bragging about her kills.
Gourdin wrote: "One of my dream hunts," followed by an emoji with hearts for eyes. "First day in Africa was a huge success" and "Good times in Africa".
So far, Gourdin has killed a giraffe, a zebra, an impala and a wildebeest and uses a pink bow and arrow in some hunts.
On her Twitter page she writes: "I hunt, nothing's gonna change that," with a post that states "Real girls hunt."
Defending her love for hunting, Aryanna, who has accompanied father Eli on several hunting trips, said: "I'm a hunter and no matter what people say to me I'm never going to stop. It's something that I cherish and I enjoy and I want other people to see what I've been able to experience.
"I want other women and youth to get into the hunting experiences. It's just awesome. We love animals too. It's just, we also love hunting. I would never back down from hunting."
The schoolgirl has been branded "disgusting" and "evil" by outraged commentators on social media and has received death threats for her "hobby". Even experienced hunters have criticised her for the brutal kills.
Reacting to the image of her posing in front of a giraffe with its heart in her hand Erica Hamon, said: "This disgusts me. 'Why'? Because being proud of a kill is one thing, but this is like a photoshoot and to me it's not about killing for 'sport' and I don't see a giraffe being something you should kill.
"There is a difference in killing a deer to feed your family and harvest the pelt and antlers than killing a giraffe and taking pictures of you holding its heart. That isn't right at all."
Aryanna attempted to defend killing the giraffe in South Africa claiming it was an old bull and a "danger" to the rest of the herd. Killing it would free up resources for other animals, ensuring "the species survives" she insisted.
The Humane Society International has branded the killing "senseless". International Trade Policy Specialist Masha Kalinina told Mirror Online: "When we allow children to participate in trophy hunting, instead of teaching them to respect creatures we are teaching them that it's okay to kill for kicks and that animals are worth more dead than alive.
"Humanity and compassion is the kindest example we can set for the next generation. Trophy hunting is short-term financial gain for long-term loss, not just for the animal kingdom but also because killing off charismatic species deprives local economies of ecotourism opportunities.
"In South Africa, for example, as much as 2% or more of the gross domestic product is generated by wildlife tourism while trophy hunting is estimated to bring in only .02% or less. How much of this sum actually makes it to conservation, instead of pockets of wealthy hunting operators, is unclear."
Her father Eli has been the focus of public outrage for encouraging his daughter to take part in hunting expeditions, with social media users commenting: "A normal dad would not take his daughter to Africa to kill an animal for fun."
Eli responded to the criticism displaying the same defiance as his daughter saying: "We're proud to be hunters and we'll never apologise for being a hunter."