A wealthy businessman has been condemned on social media after photos of his Zimbabwe hunting trip surfaced. The photos show Mike Jines, a US energy executive, posing with two dead elephants with professional hunter Max Delezenne.
He claims that after they were shared on Facebook, he has received death threats. The photos sparked a maelstrom of negative comments, almost immediately after the gruesome photos were uploaded on Facebook by Darrell Eisman.
“Apologies for the disturbing photo,” he wrote along with the photos. “If you’re upset by what you see, then make this go viral along with an email letting Mike Jines know what you think. “
People took to Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit to express their outrage over the photos, mentioning that the killed elephants seem to be babies.
Jines, who is from Alpharetta, Georgia, responded to the backlash by claiming that he shot the elephants in a designated safari area in Zimbabwe in October 2018, in self-defense.
He is a partner at TopGen Energy in Georgia and spoke only after the criticism online affected his company.
TopGen Energy has been inundated with angry responses given a string of “doesn’t recommend” Facebook ratings.
He communicated with CBS46, a Georgia news outlet, via email, adding that he is focused on “making sure people understand the actual facts as opposed to the mischaracterization of the information on social media.”
In the email, he defended that he had no other option than to kill the elephants.
“The two elephants that are shown in the photos were shot in self-defense, in an unprovoked charge and both elephants were fully mature cows, not juveniles.”
He also added that the hunt was in compliance with both Zimbabwe and U.S. laws and regulations.
He gave his own account of the hunt and posted it to a forum, and CBS46 shared it:
“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.
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 apiece and she went down.
Then from behind us, a large one-tusked cow charged at full speed. 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.”
Yet, many pointed out that his SCI Houston profile says that his “hunting passion is hunting elephant on a classic tracking hunt with a double rifle.“ Moreover, one can also see on the profile that he “has hunted extensively across Africa and has shot multiple species of each of the Big Seven with the exception of rhino.”
Yet, the businessman still claims he doesn’t deserve the negative response he had received, and in his email to CBS46, he added:
“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.”
On the other hand, thousands of social media users have condemned the killings, calling the act “heartless” and “sick”. Commenters online have started a heated campaign to shame him.
He was also doxxed by a commenter who revealed the photos, and his personal information, including his business phone number and address, were published online.
‘What an innocent, sweet animal.’
Another one wrote:
‘Elephants are known to be extremely social animals living in a pack. Not only is this unforgivable but the trauma it caused the tribe makes me believe those idiots should face that poor baby’s tribe without guns.’
Yet, most of them urged others do stop doing business with his company:
‘Take the life out of his business the way he took the life out of those baby elephants!’
‘He’s seriously “Blaming” the poor baby elephant -- Claims he HAD TO KILL him -- and then poses SMILING for these photos with its warm dead body. Can you imagine EVER doing business with #TopGenEnergy? Disgusting. Massive liability.’
‘There’s evil, and then there’s you #mikejines one can only hope the universe and all that is just punish you for killing those elephants. Boycott #TopGenEnergy’
Jines reportedly used hunting company Charlton McCallum Hunting Safaris, and there has been no official statement as to whether the elephants were juveniles.