- The Washington Times - Friday, August 19, 2016

A 12-year-old Utah girl who went on a big-game hunt in South Africa with her father last week is defending the sport after photos of her kills sparked backlash on social media.

Aryanna Gourdin’s Facebook page, titled, “Braids and Bows,” features smiling photos of her posing with a dead giraffe, zebra and wildebeest, among others.

“It’s something I cherish and enjoy, and I want other people to see what I experienced,” she said in an interview with “Good Morning America.”

Aryanna and her father, Eli Gourdin, have taken many hunting trips together over the past five years, but the recent safari hunt is what caused the online firestorm. Her Aug. 8 post of the dead giraffe received over 73,000 comments, with some users calling for her to suffer the same fate as the animal.

“Ok lets try to help everyone understand,” she wrote in response. “This giraffe was an old bull unable to reproduce and a danger to the other giraffes. In Africa they’re in a 30 year drought and food and water are scarce. By removing this giraffe it will ensure survival of the species by making sure there are enough resources to sustain the rest of the healthy herd. This bull was a danger to the others and will provide food for several orphanages and villages in the area.”

Despite the controversy, Aryanna said she has no plans to give up hunting.

“We’re proud to be hunters, and we’ll never apologize for being a hunter,” she said on “Good Morning America.”

“I would never back down from hunting,” she said. “I am a hunter, and no matter what people say to me, I’m never going to stop.”

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