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Hunting Family Posing With Dead Elephant Picture

Circulating protest message features an image of a dead elephant, still with food in its mouth, with a family of hunters posing behind the body.


© Blinov

Brief Analysis
The photograph appears to be genuine and is taken from a photo gallery on the Frikkie du Toit Safari's website. The service offers hunting packages, which can include elephants. Trophy hunting is not illegal in that jurisdiction. The identity of the people in the hunting group remains unclear. A second picture in the gallery shows the older male from the first photograph and another man posing with the same dead elephant.

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This Rich Family Killed an Elephant while it was eating. Let's make them famous. I see 5 animals and 1 elephant!

Elephant Hunting Family

Detailed Analysis

For several months, an image showing a dead elephant with the hunters who apparently caused its demise posing smugly behind it has been circulating via social media and the blogosphere, causing a good degree of outrage and contempt as it travels.

A caption that comes with the picture suggests that the image depicts "5 animals and one elephant".

The photograph is genuine and is taken from a photo gallery on the Frikkie du Toit Safari's website. Frikkie du Toit Safari's offers a range of hunting packages which can include the hunting of elephants on request.

Some versions of the message suggest that the hacking group Anonymous is responsible for circulating the photo and are looking to identify the hunters. However, it is only more recent incarnations that have made mention of Anonymous. 

A closer examination of the hunting gallery reveals what appears to be another photograph of the same dead elephant with the older male from the first photograph, along with another hunter, posing behind it.

Many people (including this writer) would find the practice of killing a beautiful and defenceless animal and then gloating gleefully over its remains repugnant to say the least. Nevertheless, despite ongoing opposition, killing elephants and other animals in organized trophy hunting safaris is not illegal. Hunt operators maintain that money raised from trophy hunting can help fund conservation initiatives and build incentives to protect wild habitats and species. 

While offering support to organizations that are fighting against trophy hunting might help further the cause, its difficult to see how circulating a picture of one particular group of hunters is going to achieve anything. 

Much of the time, people get momentarily angry when confronted with such a picture, hit the share button, and then promptly forget all about it. Some claim - rather vaguely - that circulating such pictures "raises awareness". But, the messages give no details about how people might actually fight against such activities and offer no links to further information. Thus, any "awareness" raised is likely to be fleeting at best. 

This sort of toothless social media activism might make the posters feel good about themselves for a short while. But it won't actually DO anything.

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Last updated: November 15, 2013
First published: November 15, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen
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Frikkie du Toit Safari's Gallery
Frikkie du Toit Safari's - Safari Pricing
Trophy Hunting - AFOP
Trophy hunting in Africa: 'Hunt operators are conservationists first, and hunters second'