SOUTH AFRICAN commentators have come to the defence of Melissa Bachman, the US hunter and TV presenter who caused worldwide outrage when pictures emerged of her posing with a lion she had killed in Limpopo.
Writing in the Daily Maverick, Rebecca Davis argues that the "misogynistic vitriol" directed towards Bachman does nothing to address the issue of trophy hunting in South Africa.
"Demonising Melissa Bachman further will achieve literally nothing. Neither will it bring that lion back to life," she says, adding that the anger should have been aimed instead at the South African government which gives out "gilt-edged invitations" to foreign trophy hunters.
She suggests that those who were outraged by Bachman's hunt should "lobby your local MP" rather than personally attack one woman.
Fellow Daily Maverick columnist Ivo Vegter points out that thousands of legal lion hunts are carried out in game parks across the country in an industry that contributes over R6.2 billion (£385m) to the South African economy, and questions why this particular case has received international notoriety.
"Is it not curious that a perfectly legal hunt justifies crudely insulting a woman in sexist terms?" he asks. "Loads of men shoot loads of lions all the time", he says, but none of them make it onto BuzzFeed or "get called sexist names by Ricky Gervais".
@MrCellaneous @mattblackza I wonder if it would have had as much impact if it was a male hunter with a lioness. More about symbolism.
— Sarah Britten (@Anatinus) November 17, 2013
@anatinus But lion hunts happen all the time, why pick on her? Because she tweeted it?
— MrCellaneous (@MrCellaneous) November 17, 2013
The hunting safari was organised by Maroi Conservancy who issued a statement on Facebook insisting that they would not apologise for facilitating the legal hunt. They argue that the meat from the animals is given to the local community and that funds from the hunts help to manage "sustainable conservancy" in the region.
South African Minister for Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa has defended game farming and hunting, saying it contributes significantly "to conservation, tourism development, job creation and sustainable development, especially in rural areas, and is part of the broader biodiversity economy". ·