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Donald Trump's Sons Defend Safari Killing Spree In Zimbabwe (PHOTOS)

The Huffington Post  |  By Tara Kelly Posted: 03/13/2012 4:49 pm Updated: 03/15/2012 2:44 pm

Donald Trump has long faced criticism over his environmental track record. Now, it's his sons who are in the spotlight for similar behavior.

Animal rights group PETA is criticizing the pair after newly released photos show the brothers on a safari in Zimbabwe last year, where they hunted and killed a slew of animals.

"If the young Trumps are looking for a thrill, perhaps they should consider skydiving, bungee jumping, or even following in their anti-hunting father's footsteps and taking down competing businesses—not wild animals," PETA said in a statement to E! News.

First reported by Wildlife Extra, the images made their way to YouTube and show Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. posing with the hunted trophy game.

According to TMZ, the brothers managed to shoot a variety of animals, including an elephant, crocodile, kudu, civet cat and water buck.

In response to the criticism, the eldest Trump brother took to Twitter to defend their safari.

"I'm a hunter, for that I make no apologies," Donald Trump, Jr. said on Twitter. "I can assure you it was not wasteful the villagers were so happy for the meat which they don't often get to eat," he later added.

He later continued his defense, referring directly complaints that the animals he and his brother had killed, namely elephants, had shrinking populations.

"In some parts its over populated." “Bottom line with out hunters $ there wouldn't be much left of africa. Eco is nice but no $," he tweeted.

While trophy hunting is legal in many African countries -- often provided hunters buy expensive licenses -- conservationists believe the practice is responsible for the diminishing populations of many vulnerable, threatened or endangered species.

Trophy hunters argue the expensive licenses help pay for wildlife conservation, as the fees can be used to protect natural habitats.

While the number of animals that are allowed to be killed and exported is controlled by the UN-run Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the Guardian explains that some argue the system is flawed given it's up to national governments -- some of which are short on cash -- to keep track and report the wildlife quotas.

Beyond trophy hunting, many groups are fighting to protect species threatened by poachers: just last November, the western Black Rhino of Africa was officially declared extinct by a conservation group.

According to TIME magazine's report "Killing Fields", Asian poachers and smugglers have posed as trophy hunters to access Africa's rare rhino horn.

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