Trophy hunter Oliva Opre defends hunting, claims it "helps wildlife conservation efforts"
The 41-year-old mother of four appeared on ITV's 'This Morning' to defend hunting, claiming that the sport helped wildlife preservation efforts around the world.
A trophy hunter made an appearance on ITV's 'This Morning' to defend the controversial sport to bewildered hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby. Olivia Opre's defense comes at a time when social media has seen several actors and actresses calling out numerous hunters — including celebrities such as former ice hockey player Tim Brent — for killing endangered animals.
The 41-year-old mother-of-four appeared on the talk show via video link from her home in Wyoming to defend the actions of friend and fellow hunter Britney Longoria, who recently caught flak for posting a viral photo of her hugging the corpse of a leopard she hunted down.
Speaking with a life-sized stuffed lion and lioness in the background, Opre first explained why she enjoyed the sport so much. "I think what it is, it's bringing me to a place where I get to be a part of these wild places. And amongst the people of these areas, it’s the adventure, it’s the pursuit," she said. "It’s something that pushes you to a limit you are not comfortable with and it takes you out of your comfort zone and for me, hunting is just being in the wild."
To the horror of the two hosts, she then went on to explain how she had traveled the world and across six continents in the hunt for prey and unapologetically bragged about taking down endangered species as well. "There’s an extensive list, I have hunted on six continents, all over Africa, I’ve been on about 40 safaris in eight different countries so about 100 species altogether I’d say," she said.
According to the Daily Mail, Opre has been hunting since she was 16-years-old and that the 41-year-old was of the belief that the main problem with the sport was the way hunters took pictures of the kills. While she expressed a desire to change those methods, she was also insistent that hunting helped wildlife conservation efforts.
When Opre explains that "hunters are the ones giving so much back to preserving wild species," Holly hits back, "How is it possible by killing an animal? How is that giving back to the species? How? That doesn't make sense." But Opre refused to back down on her claim.
"There's a lot of places where no photographers are going to go [sic]," she continued. "No photographers are going to go to Liberia to take a photograph, but hunters have a desire to go to new places, and as a result of these hunters coming in, they are creating jobs," adding that poaching was illegal but that hunting was not and helped conservation efforts.
It wasn't just Phillip and Holly who were seemingly taken aback by some of Opre's comments, however. Wildlife conservationist and Big Cat Society member Giles Clark, who was at the ITV studio at the time, described the 41-year-old's actions as "abhorrent, unethical, immoral, and unnecessary."