JOHANNESBURG — A hunting trip taken by Donald Trump's sons in Zimbabwe was legal, the country's parks authority has stated in response to outrage over photos of Don Jr. and Eric posing with dead African animals.
Recently emerged photos of the Trump brothers next to an endangered leopard, Cape buffalo, crocodile and other animals were posted on the website for Hunting Legends, the company that ran their 2010 trophy hunting trip to the Matetsi area of Zimbabwe, near Victoria Falls.
Zimbabwe conservationists said last week they were investigating the legality of the hunt.
“They were accompanied by a professional hunter, and we have done a background check on him and his license is still valid,” she said. “Also with the Trump brothers was a ranger from the parks department who was monitoring the hunt. The animals they hunted are available for hunting in Zimbabwe."
More from GlobalPost: Photos of Trump family's Africa hunting safari spark outrage (VIDEO)
More from GlobalPost: Trump trophy hunt photos lead to Zimbabwe investigation
While leopards are endangered, Washaya-Moyo said they can be hunted in limited numbers and under strict conditions set by CITES, the UN convention that regulates trade in endangered species.
Peta, the animal rights group, criticized the hunting safari in a statement to Hollywood Life, saying that "elephants, buffalo, and crocodiles deserve better than to be killed and hacked apart for two young millionaires' photo opportunity."
While Don Trump Jr. defended the hunting trip on his Twitter account, his father, Donald Trump, told TMZ.com that he is not a fan of hunting.
But Trump Sr. added that he thought his sons' actions were "100 percent OK in terms of the hunting community."
More from GlobalPost: Hunters shoot and pay to save the rhino
More from GlobalPost: Africa's lions under threat