A GUN-toting trophy hunter sparked outrage by posing with two young elephants slaughtered on a sick safari.
Businessman Mike Jines, from the US state Georgia, claimed he shot them in “self-defence” after a fierce social media backlash.
Jines, a partner with TopGen Energy, was pictured gloating over the corpses along with professional hunter Max ‘Buzz’ Delezenne on a hunt in Zimbabwe in October.
He says he faced threats when the images went viral last month when they were posted on Facebook by Darrel Eisman on Facebook.
Darrel wrote: “Apologies for the disturbing photo. If you’re really upset by what you see, than make this go viral along with an email letting Mike Jines know what you think.”
Jines’ email was included in the post.
This is a horrible read for the owner of #TopGenEnergy. Smiling for pics after killing elephants…!
Former England cricketer Kevin Pietersen
The post has now been shared more than 56,000 times as social media users urged others to shame the hunters and boycott Jines’ business.
One user wrote: “It utterly breaks my heart to see such cruelty going on those scumbags who killed this poor innocent creature should be punished, hunters should be banned as a lot of animals in Africa are now on the verge of extinction how tragic.”
Former England cricketer Kevin Pietersen said: “This is a horrible read for the owner of #TopGenEnergy. Smiling for pics after killing elephants…! Please RT!”
Another commented on Twitter: “There’s evil, and then there’s you #mikejines one can only hope the universe and all that is just punish you for killing those elephants. Boycott #TopGenEnergy.”
Deb Tattersall said: “There’s no justification for killing elephants, especially baby ones, you clearly are a sick individual and I hope you get everything coming to you!!”
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Jines claimed his critics did not know the “full story”.
He told CBS 46 the elephants “were shot in self-defence, in an unprovoked charge and both elephants were fully mature cows, not juveniles.”
Jines also said that the animals were shot in full compliance with laws and regulations in both Zimbabwe and the US.