Slaying of tragic lion’s cub causes fresh outrage
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
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