Giraffe hunter faces death threats after Ricky Gervais posts viral photo on Twitter

Extreme hunter Rebecca Francis is facing death threats after comedian Ricky Gervais tweeted a photo of her lying next to a dead giraffe.

On April 15, Gervais posted the image on Twitter that has been re-tweeted more than 30,000 times, writing "What must've happened to you in your life to make you want to kill a beautiful animal & then lie next to it smiling?"

The image, said to be close to five years old, has stirred heated controversy, with many Twitter users voicing their desire for Francis to be killed.

According to's Facebook page, Francis defended her actions saying that the giraffe was alone, elderly, past his breeding prime, exiled from his herd and close to death.

"When I was in Africa five years ago I was of the mindset that I would never shoot a giraffe," Francis wrote according to "They asked me if I would preserve this giraffe by providing all the locals with food and other means of survival. He was inevitably going to die soon and he could either be wasted or utilized by the local people."

HuntingLife and many other pro-hunting outlets have defended Francis' actions, pointing out that giraffes are not endangered by extinction, and old and lonely giraffes can face slow and painful deaths as they struggle to defend themselves against predator attacks. It is also said that the local African tribes consume the giraffe meat and use make use of all parts of the animal.

Francis became a celebrity hunter in 2010 after winning a reality show called Extreme Huntress.

Gervais is known for his passions of environmentalism and animal welfare. Gervais' Facebook page is littered with posts trying to bring awareness toward the mass poaching of African rhinos and elephants, and he shared an image shaming a different giraffe hunter only a few days before posting the photo of Francis.

The next day, Gervais thanked fans for helping the image go viral.

"Your response to the trophy hunter killing that beautiful giraffe was immense and heartwarming," Gervais wrote on Facebook. "Because of you, that photo was seen by over 20 million people on my Facebook page alone. This is the power you have."