Slay­ing of tragic lion’s cub causes fresh out­rage

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

JO­HAN­NES­BURG — A tro­phy hunter in Zim­babwe has shot dead a cub of Ce­cil the lion whose death in 2015 caused world­wide out­rage, re­searchers track­ing the pride con­firmed on Fri­day.

Xanda, a six-year-old lion fit­ted with a ra­dio col­lar, was killed on July 7 in north­west Zim­babwe, close to where US den­tist Wal­ter Palmer shot Ce­cil with a high-pow­ered bow and ar­row two years ago.

“Xanda was shot by a tro­phy hunter on a legally sanc­tioned hunt in a hunt­ing area out­side Hwange Na­tional Park,” An­drew Loveridge from Ox­ford Univer­sity’s zo­ol­ogy de­part­ment said.

“As re­searchers we are sad­dened to lose a well-known study an­i­mal we have mon­i­tored since birth.”

In 2015, Ce­cil’s killing trig­gered fierce con­tro­versy as he was a pop­u­lar at­trac­tion for vis­i­tors to the famed Hwange Na­tional Park.

Both Ce­cil and Xanda wore elec­tronic GPS track­ing col­lars in a project run by Ox­ford Univer­sity’s wildlife con­ser­va­tion re­search unit.

But they had strayed out of the park bound­aries and into a le­gal hunt­ing area.

The tro­phy hunter has not been named, but many hunters are from the United States, Europe and South Africa, of­ten pay­ing tens of thou­sands of dol­lars for the op­por­tu­nity to kill lions and other wild an­i­mals.

Pro-hunt groups say hunt­ing pro­vides an es­sen­tial eco­nomic in­cen­tive to pro­mote longterm con­ser­va­tion and that the in­come pays to safe­guard wildlife and catch poach­ers.

Bri­tain’s Daily Tele­graph news­pa­per named the hunt’s pro­fes­sional ex­pe­di­tion leader as Zim­bab­wean Richard Cooke, and said that the hunt was le­gal as Xanda was six years old.

It added that Cooke had handed in the col­lar af­ter dis­cov­er­ing it on the dead an­i­mal, who was the head of a pride with two lionesses and sev­eral cubs.

“This shows once again that the world must ur­gently act to pro­tect an­i­mals in the wild,” Ten­nyson Williams, of the World An­i­mal Pro­tec­tion ac­tion group, said, de­scrib­ing the kill- ing as “sense­less and cruel”.

Palmer, who shot Ce­cil, a 13-year-old male, was hounded on so­cial me­dia and went into hid­ing af­ter demon­stra­tions out­side his den­tal prac­tice.

He was re­ported to have paid $55,000 for the hunt, in which Ce­cil was at first badly in­jured and then killed.

No charges were brought against Palmer or the lo­cal guide as that hunt was also found to be le­gal.

We are sad­dened to lose a well-known study an­i­mal we have mon­i­tored since birth.” An­drew Loveridge, re­searcher


Mu­si­cian Ab­hishek Prasad plays gui­tar dur­ing brain surgery in Ban­ga­lore, In­dia, on Thurs­day.

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