Yesterday, we posted a story about Ricky Gervais and his criticism of American huntress Rebecca Francis. Without wanting to put too fine a point on it, things properly kicked off. A mixture of insults, threats, and firmly-guarded opinions were hurled across the barricades; with both sides of the debate refusing to budge.
This morning, while we were eating our porridge and surveying the wreckage of yesterday’s debate (the hunting one, not the political one on the BBC), the anti-poaching work of Kinessa Johnson came to our attention. To misquote an old saying about buses, “you wait ages for one story about hunting, and then two come along at once.”
“Kinessa Johnson is a US army veteran, and she’s seriously badass.”Kinessa Johnson is a US army veteran, and she’s seriously badass. She’s a hunter but, here’s the twist, she’s actually hunting down poachers rather than the animals.
Johnson signed up to Veterans Empowered to Protect African Wildlife (VETPAW) as as an anti-poaching advisor, following a tour of Afghanistan as a weapons instructor and mechanic.
Unsurprisingly, perhaps, Ricky Gervais is one of the many animal lovers who have publically got behind the work of Johnson and VETPAW. On Wednesday, Gervais tweeted his followers encouraging them to support the organisation.
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) April 15, 2015
Johnson herself, who is currently on the ground in Tanzania working to protect endangered animals, had this to say about the work of VETPAW:
“Our intention is not to harm anyone; we’re here to train park rangers so they can track and detain poachers and ultimately prevent poaching,”
“Most of the time anyone that is in a reserve with a weapon is considered a threat and can be shot if rangers feel threatened.”
“Our goal is to prevent trigger pulling through strategic movements and methods of prevention.”