A big game hunter and former beauty queen is facing backlash after she claimed in a television interview that hunting helps with anti-poaching and conservation efforts.
Oliva Nalos Opre, who won the title of Mrs. Nebraska in 2003, spoke about her hobby on the U.K.-based show “This Morning” via satellite Wednesday from her home in Montana.
The mother of four told hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby she’s killed about 100 species of animals in six different continents.
Her Facebook bio says she’s hunted in Benin, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Argentina, Mongolia, France, Spain, Romania, New Zealand, Mexico, Canada, and throughout the United States.
She also discussed her belief that “hunters are the ones that are giving so much back to preserving the wild species.”
“No photographer is going to go to Liberia to take a photograph. But hunters have that desire to see new areas, and as a result of these hunters coming in, they’re creating jobs, they’re helping to drill wells and take animal censuses, and what’s most important is the anti-poaching efforts,” Opre said. “There are biologists that have been paid for by hunters’ trophy dollars that go in and take censuses,” she added.
Opre also claimed that organizations like Safari Club International do research in hunting areas in order to make sure the “numbers are sustainable.”
Big game hunters such as Opre often receive harsh backlash, especially online, when they share images of their “trophies.”
Earlier this week, a fellow big game hunter and friend of Opre’s, Brittany Longoria, was shamed online for killing a leopard in Namibia.
The photo of Longoria holding the carcass of the big cat went viral after it was posted on Instagram by David Bonnouvrier, co-founder of “Knot on my Planet,” an organization that works to end elephant ivory poaching.
It was later shared by many others, including celebrities like Naomi Campbell, Doutzen Kroes and Kyle Richards, all of whom expressed their disapproval of Longoria’s hobby.
Opre has also been the focus of social media backlash, with commenters calling her “vile” and “evil,” among other insults.
“There’s a huge difference between hunting and poaching, and what hunters are doing is legal. So when you have death threats on somebody who has done something legal, it’s extremely frustrating,” she said.