Photographs that some have found disturbing have come to light showing Donald Trump's sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, smiling as they proudly pose with a variety of animals they killed on a big game hunt in Africa.
In one of the photos -- now removed from the website, Hunting Legends, on which they were initially posted -- Donald Jr. holds the tail of an elephant. And in another, Eric Trump props up a dead leopard.
Donald Jr. has denied that the images were leaked as a PR stunt, but since he is looking straight into the camera, it is apparent that he was aware the pictures were being taken. The images surfaced after the company that organized the hunting trip to the Matetsi area of Zimbabwe, near Victoria Falls, posted them on its website, perhaps to drum up more business.
"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.
"In some places, it can cost up to $50,000 for an elephant," award-winning travel writer Paula Froelich tells me. "I hate to say this, but hunting does stop poaching. The animals and the people do have to find a way to live together. It's a way to stop overpopulation."
Froelich said that no laws were broken; only in Kenya is all hunting outlawed.
"It was a stupid idea to let these photos get out because of the way Americans feel about hunting," Froelich said. "But they are proud of it. It's a rich white man's sport. Usually it's rich dudes looking for the next big challenge. They think it's romantic, like they are in the film 'Out of Africa.'"
Although the Trumps look the part of proud hunters, claims that either of the Trump men caught and killed these magnificent creatures themselves are a stretch.
"The guides do all the work," Froelich said. "They track the animals which are not that hard to find. It's kind of like finding a rat in New York. Then the 'hunters' get out of their jeep, which comes with a fully stocked bar, and get to cut off an elephant's tail before having another gin and tonic. Its called a 'Sun Down,' after the sun goes down you have a drink and admire what you have killed."
Hunting Legends, the company that detailed the brothers' trip, revealed it was not the first hunting expedition for either brother. The company did not respond after being contacted for comment.
"These two amazing young men are everything but the 'city slickers' you would expect," the Hunting Legends site read.
But their dad, Donald Trump, isn't so keen on the sport: "I am not a believer in hunting and I'm surprised they like it," he told TMZ.