Cecil the lion’s son also slain by hunter
JOHANNESBURG —The son of Cecil, a Zimbabwean lion whose allegedly illegal killing by an American hunter in 2015 ignited international outrage, has been legally killed in the same area.
The slaying drew fresh scrutiny to the “trophy” hunting of a species whose numbers in the African wild have plummeted.
Some conservation groups denounced 6-year-old Xanda’s killing, saying commercial hunting bans and robust wildlife tourism in countries such as Kenya and Botswana are among the best ways to protect threatened species.
The hunting industry, meanwhile, counters that it has a conservation role if it is well-regulated, channeling revenue back into wildlife areas that otherwise could end up neglected or turned into livestock farms.
Many researchers agree that Africa’s lions face greater threats, including human encroachment on habitats and the poaching of animals for food, which deprives lions of prey. A more recent concern is the legal export of South African lion skeletons to a traditional medicine market in Asia, which some critics believe could lead to increased poaching of wild lions to meet demand.
Xanda, which was wearing a GPS collar so researchers could track him, was killed on or around July 7 just outside Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, a group called World Heritage Species said on Facebook. The shooter, the group said, is a client of Zimbabwean professional hunter Richard Cooke. Group members include Brent Stapelkamp, a researcher who monitors lions in Hwange park, where Cecil and Xanda lived.
Efforts to reach Cooke by email and phone were not immediately successful.
Zimbabwe would not name the person who shot Xanda because doing so would invite retribution and loss of business for the hunt operator, an official said.