After the photos sparked a massive outrage, he claimed the elephants were killed in self-defense. But his arroagant pose next to the deceased animals indicate otherwise.
Trigger warning: Contains descriptions and photos that may be disturbing to some.
He may be a rich businessman but what he is now better known for is cruelly standing next to the limp body of two baby elephants, after shooting them. American businessman Mike Jines faced a lot of backlash from social media after he and his hunting partner, Max “Buzz” Delezenne towered over a dead elephant with rifles in their hand, according to ACHNews.
Metro reported that the two elephants were babies, killed by Jines and his friend in Zimbabwe. The gut-wrenching pictures show the elephants’ bodies after they were shot to the ground , while Delezenne stood with a big smile on his face and Jines had with a blatant expression of pride.
It was reported that no official statement on whether the elephants were actually babies was available and after the photos went viral, Jines started receiving threats. The wealthy businessman is a partner with a company called TopGen Energy and the campaign, spearheaded by social media users, urged people to stop using the company’s services.
Later, after seeing how his pictures were getting slammed, Jines claimed that his side of the story was different from the information that was being circulated.
“The hunt started with a bang… literally. Less than thirty minutes into the first morning of the first day we experienced a double elephant cow charge. This was obviously a first for me but it turns out it was a first for Buzz as well. We saw a group of cows from the road and decided to follow them to see if a tuskless was in the group,” Jines posted on a forum, as quoted by CBS46.
“We caught them quickly and identified a tuskless. We positioned ourselves to get a good look at the tuskless and concluded that since it was just Day 1 we would pass. An instant later she came in an all out charge. Buzz and I both fired two shots a piece and she went down. Then from behind us a large one-tusked cow charged at full speed.”
He went on to say, “We each fired one shot and she crashed to the ground with her hind legs out behind her, indicating the speed and determination of her charge. The two cows were less than forty feet apart with Buzz and I in the middle. Fortunately we had positioned ourselves in some open ground so we had good visibility when the charges came. Certainly a little more excitement than we had bargained for on Day 1.”
While speaking to CBS46 via email, Jines claimed that the two elephants were shot in a designated safari area in Zimbabwe and that the hunt was carried out in accordance to America’s and Zimbabwe’s laws and regulations.
Jines said, “The two elephant that are shown in the photos were shot in self-defense, in an unprovoked charge and both elephants were fully mature cows, not juveniles.”
“While I can appreciate that hunting can be polarizing and that views on hunting can vary materially, I am sure that you can appreciate what it is like to deal with the vitriol particularly when the underlying information in this case is inaccurate,” he added.
However, people still maintained the opinion that no animal should be hunted for a trophy kill.
A social media user named Sharon Walters pointed out that he “didn’t have to pose” with the animals.
“My heart is broken and my body is sick from seeing these images,” a social media user named Molly Brown wrote, as quoted by Independent while another said, “That’s one of the saddest photos I’ve ever seen.”
“Fire Mike Jines. Elephants have strong family ties. He robbed a family of its children… Trying be a big man by going after baby animals with a high-powered gun? Wow, what a man!” wrote Didgy Sencer.
“He got caught and now he is trying to save himself… Good luck with that, Jines. Remember, God hates a coward,” read a petition that urged people to email Jines’s company.
ACHNews cited Houston’s Safari Club, revealing that Jines was somewhat of a manic hunter who was “extensively” hunted in parts of Africa. It was also said that he had gunned down a number of species that belong to the continent’s Big Seven (Elephant, Lion, Leopard, Black Rhino, Buffalo, Wild Dog, and Cheetah, according to Shadows of Africa) with the exception of the rhino. But the worst of Jines’s hunting hysteria is reserved for elephants.
Weakening his defense against the backlash he received on social media, Mike Jines was also reported to have said after the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) officials banned imports of hunted elephants: “Without a strong show of outrage by hunters, the USFWS will just be emboldened to continue down the path of nibbling away at the rights of sport hunters.”