AUSTIN, Texas -- A 19-year-old Texas Tech student from Cleburne, Texas is under fire with many wildlife conservationists after posting pictures with animals she has shot and killed in Africa on Facebook.
Kendall Jones says she caught the hunting bug at 9 years old when she watched her dad hunt and bring home animals from Africa.
"As badly as I wanted to shoot something, I was just too small to hold the guns my dad had brought," said Jones on her Facebook page.
Her wish came true and at 13 years old Jones shot her first animal: A white rhino.
Jones has more than 31,000 "likes" on her Facebook page, but not everyone on her page agrees with what Jones calls "adventures in hunting."
After Jones posted a picture of her smiling beside a leopard she shot and killed, one user wrote, "No matter how you look at it, seeing people smiling over the dead body of such a majestic animal is just sad."
Jones posted another picture smiling over the body of a lion she shot dead; a user wrote, "I honestly wish people like you wouldn't come into my beautiful country and shoot our animals."
Supporters of Jones say people responding negatively "don't know how conservation works" and "successfully bow hunted a lion...much respect."
Jones says all her hunts involved a "fair chase" and not all the animals shown are killed. Some of the animals shown on her page are tranquilized for educational use.
An online petition was started June 22 asking Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to take down Jones' photographs. The petition says Jones is promoting animal cruelty.
"For the sake of all animals, especially the animals in the African region... where hunters are going for fun just to kill an animal! Some people have been reporting the pages lately, but it seems Facebook is not concerned about what Kendall Jones is promoting in her page," the petition states.
So far more than 52,000 people have signed the petition. The goal is 75,000.
A reality show on Jones will air January 2015 on the Sportsman Channel.