An American hunter who drew widespread criticism for her 2018 photo posing with the body of a rare black giraffe she killed on a hunting trip defended her “hobby” in an interview Friday with CBS News.

“It’s a hobby, it’s something that I love to do,” Tess Talley told CBS News’s Adam Yamaguchi. "I am proud to hunt, and I am proud of that giraffe."

Talley said the photo was taken on a trip to South Africa, during which she went on a “conservation hunt” designed to manage area wildlife.

ADVERTISEMENT

Talley told Yamaguchi that she has made decorative pillows and a gun case out of the giraffe, which she described as "delicious."

Talley said in a since-deleted Facebook post last year that the rare black giraffe was more than 18 years old and weighed over 4,000 pounds. She added that she “was blessed to be able to get 2,000 lbs of meat from him.” 

Talley faced global backlash after posting the photo. She told CBS that people have showed up at her job and called her employer to try to get her fired, in addition to being slammed on social media.

“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,” AfricLand Post wrote on Twitter.

But Talley said she would not kill animals solely for the sake of hunting. Instead, she wants to do “her part” to help conservationist efforts.

"Everybody thinks that the easiest part is pulling the trigger. And it's not," Talley told CBS. "That's the hardest part. But you gain so much respect and so much appreciation for that animal because you know what that animal is going through. They are put here for us. We harvest them, we eat them."

Asked why she wouldn't just try to support conservationist efforts by donating to wildlife or environmental charities, Talley responded said she "would rather do what I love to do, rather than just give a lump sum of cash somewhere and not know particularly where that is going." 

In a statement to CBS News, Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International, said trophy hunting of giraffes showed "sheer and arrogant disregard for the imperiled status of an iconic species."

"A 2015 estimate found that fewer than 100,000 giraffes remain in the wild in Africa, and our 2018 investigation revealed that nearly 4,000 giraffe-derived trophies were imported into the U.S. over the last decade. More than one giraffe is killed every day," Block added.