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Former Manchester United player David Beckham was heavily criticised by his followers on Friday morning after posting a video and photo of his daughter Harper interacting with a white rhino.
The post came after the pair shared a father-daughter bonding day at the Cotswold Wildlife Park. Harper, now nine years old is the youngest child of David and former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham.
One person commented: “Sorry mate, but zoos are not the answer… the animals are not meant to be kept locked up.”
Another irked follower said: “It’s horrible that you are supporting zoos, you should teach your kids that animals should be free.”
And they weren’t the only people to critique the midfielder turned football club owner’s parenting.
“Booo,” exclaimed a commenter, followed by four thumbs down emojis. “What a great father. Take your daughter to admire a caged animal.”
What David described in his stories as “the perfect day,” was clearly not-so-perfect for some.
The nature of the visit was clearly not meant to offend and it appears David didn’t anticipate the backlash as he gushed about how much fun he and Harper had.
“So Harper became a Junior Zoo Keeper for the day thanks to Reggie at @cotswoldwildlifepark,” he wrote in his caption. “and with the help of Helen it was such a fun day for dad as well,” he added.
Although some followers were disappointed – one went as far as to say “you should be ashamed of yourselves” – many jumped to defend the sporting star.
“I am sure that @davidbeckham and Beckham’s family are against zoos,” one commented.
Another added, “Without zoos doing the amazing work they do in conservation then you could kiss goodbye to the white rhino, black rhino and Indian.
“Yes, animals are meant to be in the wild but as a human race we love to destroy things we don’t truly understand,” they wrote passionately in response to David’s critics. “The job zoos do is invaluable to the survival of animals.”
In spite of the criticism, it appears that David and Harper shared a lovely day together. “Creating memories. So special,” wrote David atop a picture of him and Harper feeding ring tailed lemurs.
One fan who actually saw the pair enjoying their time together took to the comments to say, “Ahhh we saw you walking around with Harper yesterday – you are such a loving and close daddy to her.” They added, “Well done David, your daughter looked so so happy yesterday.”
The controversial post also provoked a response from Kevin Pieterson.
As founder and owner of SORAI (Save Our Rhino Africa India) and Umganu Lodge which overlooks the Kruger National Park, the influential conservation expert knows a thing or two about animals.
“Check out @careforwild. I’d love to chat to you about it…” he recommended.
Although David has not yet responded, a few of Kevin’s 1.9 million followers thought a collab could be beneficial.
“Please chat to @kp24,” someone urged. “Harper would gain so much more from a sanctuary than a zoo.”
“With you on board you would both reach so many more people,” another added
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