The Texas cheerleader who sparked a social media firestorm after posting pictures with animals she shot and killed to Facebook is fighting back against critics who are petitioning the social media network to have her page removed.
Kendall Jones, a 19-year-old cheerleader at Texas Tech University, first drew controversy when she posted on Facebook photos of herself smiling next to wild animals like a lion, a rhino and a leopard that she says she hunted while in Africa.
The photos drew the ire of animal rights activists who created a petition June 22 asking Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to remove her page because it promotes animal cruelty. As of today, the petition has 121,788 of the 200,000 signatures it is seeking.
Jones, of Cleburne, Texas, has taken to -- where else? -- Facebook to defend herself, characterizing her big game hunts in Africa as a conservation effort.
“This is a conservation effort to assure [sic] that they never do become extinct,” she wrote.
Jones has also cited President Teddy Roosevelt as an example of someone who promoted conservationism but was also a hunter.
"He was a hunter too, right? He killed the same species that hunters now chase today under a mound of anti-hunting pressure. Yet, how can it be possible that someone can love the earth, and take from the Earth in the name of conservation? For some folks, they'll never understand. For the rest of us...we were born that way. God Bless Teddy," Jones posted.
Jones, who did not reply to ABC News’ request for comment, has also created a second Facebook page, “Support Kendall,” to, she writes, “help us stand tall in our freedom to share and promote the 100% legal activities that hunters and conservationists continue to engage in.”
That page now has over 60,000 likes.
While in high school, Jones was featured on local ABC affiliate WFAA as a Scholar Athlete of the Week and said then that she helped stray pets and had dogs at home.
"Yes I have two of my own,” she said in the February 2013 segment.
According to Jones’ Facebook page, the cheerleader may have found a way to turn the controversy into a future in television. Jones posted that she would be hosting her own reality TV show on the Sportsman Channel next year.
The network, which airs hunting shows hosted by the likes of Sarah Palin and model Brittany Glaze, would not confirm to ABC News if Jones will be joining the network’s roster of stars.
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