Ricky Gervais Takes Aim at Giraffe Hunter, Incites Outrage Online

   04.16.15

Rebecca Francis, an American huntress and adventurer who has appeared on shows like Eye of the Hunter, hardly expected a picture that she took five years ago to come back and haunt her. Yet on Monday, English comedian Ricky Gervais singled her out for criticism by tweeting a picture of Francis posed next to a giraffe that she harvested half a decade ago in Africa.

The tweet was quickly shared nearly 30,000 times and caused an onslaught of public criticism towards Francis, including numerous death threats.

Francis responded to the outrage by clarifying that the bull giraffe was past his breeding years and had been recently kicked out of his herd. Eventually, the animal would have died on its own and its meat would have gone to waste.

“I chose to honor his life by providing others with his uses and I do not regret it for one second,” she said in a statement to HuntingLife.com. “Once he was down there were people waiting to take his meat. They also took his tail to make jewelry, his bones to make other things, and did not waste a single part of him. I am grateful to be a part of something so good.”

In addition to being a mountaineer and runner, Francis is an avid bowhunter and traveler, having taken animals such as Dall sheep, shiras moose, zebra, and black wildebeest. In her writings, Francis painted herself as a staunch conservationist and admitted that while some may see her as a trophy hunter, she has a freezer back at home full of deer, bear, moose, and sheep that says differently. As the mother of a large family, Francis said that she is proud to be the one to bring home the meat.

“I am so thankful, as I am sure all hunters are, that I have the ability to not only choose the quality of animal I harvest, but that I know where my meat came from, I am the only one who handled my meat, and I know with a surety that it is healthier than any beef out there,” she wrote on her blog.

“It is essential that we are involved in the preservation of these wildlife resources for our future, but more importantly to be able to pass this gift on to our posterity,” she added.

Francis said that hunting older animals past their prime not only allows younger animals to step in and revitalize the gene pool, but it also pours countless dollars into preserving this animals, protecting their habitat and making sure that rangers are hired to patrol against poachers. Yet Gervais dismissed the idea of hunters as conservationists in a recent interview on the Opie and Anthony radio show.

“Why couldn’t you give the money and not shoot it?” he said. “Let’s put this in context. Imagine someone saying, ‘There’s a guy, he’s going to give $1 million to cancer research, all he wants is to shoot one cancer patient.'”

Hunters who have responded to debate on social media say that Gervais may have to do more research before he speaks. As for Francis, she says she has no regrets.

“There is no question that I am extremely selective about the animals I hunt. I feel it is absolutely necessary to hunt older and more mature animals,” she wrote in 2011.

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