Ce­cil the lion’s son also slain by hunter

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NEWS -

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.

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