Kendall Jones, a Texas Tech cheerleader and avid hunter, has come under fire recently for posts made to her Facebook page of her hunting expeditions.
The 19-year-old has stirred up controversy with a number of photos posted to her public Facebook page, in which she smiles and poses beside a series of dead exotic animals that she's hunted over the years.
In her bio posted to the social network, Jones says she followed her father on "hunting adventures" as a child, and shot her first animal, a white rhino, at the age of 13 on a trip to South Africa. She has since returned to Africa several times where she has "harvested" a wide variety of animals, and now hopes to host a television show about her exploits..
Jones page, which has over 150,000 likes, has been the target of animal activists attempting to get the page removed from Facebook, citing animal cruelty.
In a statement obtained by the TODAY show, Jones' family defended the photos and the actions of Kendall.
"First and foremost, it’s imperative to make mention that all of Kendall's hunts in Zimbabwe and South Africa were 100% legal with proper tags and licenses awarded on a pre-approved quota by the countries officials and wildlife department," the family said in the statement.
"Secondly, the tags, licenses, and fees purchased in addition to the services provided by local trackers, skinners, and assistants totalled over $160,000 USD, not including travel and/or production costs. In Zimbabwe, where over 70% of the country's population is classified as poor or extremely poor, this money, along with the $200 million hunters provide annually to the overall African economy, can provide a great deal of stimulus for the local economies. In the most rural areas, most people are unemployed and depend on bartering as a way of living and their economy welcomes hunters. We're very proud of Kendall and Cody in not only helping to conserve these species for future generations, but also for helping contribute both money and jobs to an extremely poor area of Africa."
Facebook has removed several of the page's photos for violating the Facebook terms of service.
"We remove reported content that promotes poaching of endangered species, the sale of animals for organized fight or content that includes extreme acts of animal abuse," the company said in a statement.