Iconic lion Cecil’s son was killed by a trophy hunter in Zimbabwe


HARARE — Two years after the killing of the lion Cecil by a trophy hunter in Zimbabwe sparked global outrage, his son has met a similar fate, a Facebook page promoting the protection of iconic animal species and the organizer of the hunt said.

Six-year-old Xanda was apparently shot dead around July 7 just outside Hwange National Park, not far from where Cecil was killed in July 2015, the citizens’ initiative World Heritage Species said on Facebook.

Both Xanda and Cecil were being monitored through GPS collars by an Oxford University research team.

Zimbabwean safari operator Richard Cooke, who organized the hunt for an unnamed client, confirmed to dpa that Xanda had been killed.

“The hunt was legal and the collar was returned. That’s all I can say at this stage,” Cooke said on Friday.

The killing of Cecil sparked a massive outcry against trophy hunting. U.S. dentist Walter Palmer, who reportedly paid US$50,000 for the hunt, had to temporarily close his dental practice and go into hiding.

Zimbabwe brought no charges against Palmer as the hunt was found to be legal.

“Sadly, Xanda had a pride with cubs, and their safety and survival is now in jeopardy if a new male comes along and attempts to take over,” World Heritage Species said.

“This is the same senseless and tragic story that we had with Cecil while at the same time the tired and unsubstantiated argument regarding the benefits of trophy hunting continues,” it added.

Advocates of trophy hunting say it helps keep wildlife areas under conservation and provides much-needed income to local communities.

“Photo tourism demonstrably generates incomparably more income and jobs than trophy hunting. It is irresponsible that endangered animals in Zimbabwe may still be shot as soon as they leave protected areas,” said Daniela Freyer from the organization Pro Wildlife.

Africa’s lion population has halved to about 20,000 animals over the past two decades, according to the organization. The decline is not only due to trophy hunting, but also to loss of habitat and conflict with farmers.