Who Is Tess Thompson Talley? New Details On The Woman Branded A 'White Savage' For Gleefully Killing Giraffe

Photo: Getty 
Who Is Tess Thompson Talley? New Details On The Woman Branded A 'White Savage' For Gleefully Killing Giraffe

Whether or not you're a vegetarian, chances are you consider yourself to be an animal lover, and as such there are some issues that give you pause. One of the chief issues among animal lovers is the hunting of wild, rare animals for sport, also known as trophy hunting. One woman found herself in a firestorm of controvery for her own passion for the sport, and the way she responded only made things worse.

Her name is Tess Thompson Talley and when photos of her posing with a dead rare black giraffe that she shot and killed went viral everyone thought she'd hide in shame. Instead, Tess clapped back, proud of her (arguably monstrous) choice. Here's what she's saying a year after she first made her way into the public spotlight. Spoiler alert: she hasn't changed her mind. Who is Tess Thompson Talley?

1. No Regrets

Last year Tess Thompson Talley, 38, went viral after the photos she took posing next to a rare black giraffe she shot and killed hit the internet. While time has passed, the outrage has barely dimmed but that's not bothering Tess who said in an interview with CBS that "They [animals] are put there for us, we harvest them, we eat them!". It seems she's standing by her original stance. 

Gayle King questioned Talley about how the photos seemed to go beyond hunting. She wanted to know if she took pleasure out of the death. Tess brushed this off saying: "The pictures are a tradition that hunters have done long before social media. When social media came around, that's when there was an issue, that's when people started backlash."

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2. Her Trophies 

While hunting is a hot button issue for many people, what Tess did seems to go beyond a matter as simple as, is hunting good or bad. As a trophy hunter, Tess was engaging in a form of hunting that's already divided communities. This doesn't seem to phase her in the least. When confronted with questions about what she did with the giraffe she proclaim laughing that she ate it and: "He was delicious!"

Tess, an employee at a ball bearings factory, a job that apparently pays enough for you to travel the globe murdering rare animals, says that she does her best to keep trophies from her kills. She held up a gun case she had made saying, "This is a part of the black giraffe that I shot, something I could take around with me, and have on my hunts!" and she didn't stop there. "I also have decorative pillows made out of him, and everybody loves them," she shared. 

3. Why She Is Passionate

Tess, like many others who engaged in trophy hunting insists that she is actually doing the wildlife of each region a favor every single time she guns down a rare, beautiful animal. "We are preserving... we are managing herds, we're managing numbers of wildlife. 'I am proud to be a hunter, and I'm proud to hunt, and I am proud of [killing] that giraffe."

In places like South Africa, the communities often charge top dollar so that people like Tess can fly in and kill animals who have been earmarked as threats to their community, the human population, or who are simply too old to reproduce. At least, that's the arguments they give. Others against trophy hunting think it's simply a financial racket. 

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4. Death Threats

The photos were takine in 2017 and went viral in 2018. As you might expect, things weren't easy for Tess after the photos surfaced. She received (and still receives) death threats. On social media folks wrote stuff like "Tess Thompson Talley: Here’s hoping you die  a horrific bloody death." A post on Twitter by a group called Africalandpost started it all. The tweet featured two photos of Talley with the dead giraffe and the caption: “White american savage who is partly a neanderthal comes to Africa and shoot down a very rare black giraffe coutrsey of South Africa stupidity. Her name is Tess Thompson Talley. Please share.” 

 

Tess admitted that the threats and harrassment were a challenge for her, which is surprising given how little she seems to care about what other people think. Tess, talking about the time when the first were first released said: "It got really bad, (people) spreading out addresses, showing up my work, calling employer trying to get me fired."

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5. Celeb Outrage

Civilians like you and me aren't the only ones who were outraged by Tess' actions. Celebrities spoke out against her, too. Debra Messing said: "With joy in her black heart and a beaming smile she lies next to the dead carcass of a *rare* black giraffe in South Africa. Giraffes are the epitome of gentle giants. They glide across the plains, like liquid; awe inspiring creatures who spend their days eating leaves and caring for their young. How DARE she."

Comedian Ricky Gervais' post wasn't quite as long but it was equally daming: "What's 16 feet tall and has a c*** on the back of its neck?" But Tess refuses to stop hunting and says that the people, including the celebs, who spoke out condeming her actions, are the ones who need to rethink their own motives.

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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cats, Batman and Margot. She's an experienced generalist with a passion for lifestyle, geek news, pop culture, and true crime.