GREEN

Yearbook Photo Of Student Posing With Slain Giraffe Sparks Controversy

05/29/2015 04:05 pm ET | Updated May 29, 2015

A yearbook photo of a New York high school student posing with a dead giraffe and a gun unleashed an intense local fury about endangered animals.

The photo appears in a section of 2015 Guilderland High School yearbook where family members can purchase space to share messages, quotes and pictures celebrating senior year students, NEWS10 ABC reported.

A teenaged boy holds up the dead giraffe by its ears in the picture that went viral on Thursday, though it's unclear how the animal died. The picture upset some students and their families who've complained to officials from the school near Albany because of its similarity to "trophy hunting" photos of nimrods showing off their quarry.

"I do understand that there are some folks that are offended," school superintendent Marie Wiles told the Times Union. "It's our regret that people are offended by this. In the future, we will take a little bit closer view of how we review that section of the yearbook."

The giraffe populations in Africa plummeted from 140,000 in 1998 to fewer than 80,000 in 2012, with two sub-species considered endangered, the Giraffe Conservation Foundation reported.

The Humane Society's New York director, Brian Shapiro, condemned stalking wildlife in a statement to the New York Daily News.

"Traveling halfway around the world to shoot some of the world's most magnificent, and exotic animals is shameful," he said. "Trophy hunting increases threats to survival of these species."

Big game hunters have exposed themselves to a backlash by publishing their conquests on social media. Kendall Jones, 19, a Texas Tech University cheerleader outraged the Internet last summer when the exotic hunting photos from Africa she shared online began to blow up. Television host and self-professed "hardcore huntress" Melissa Bachman set off a similar controversy in 2013 when she posted a photo posing over a dead lion that she killed in South Africa.

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