Just two years after Cecil the lion was killed in similar circumstances, one of his cubs has been shot dead by a big game trophy hunter in Zimbabwe.
The six-year-old lion named Xanda was killed just outside the Hwange National Park in north west Zimbabwe, not far from where Cecil was killed in 2015.
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Cecil was found beheaded and skinned near the Park in 2015 after Walter Palmer, a 55 year old dentist from Minneapolis, paid a $55,000 (£35,000) to wildlife guides to allow him to shoot the lion with a crossbow. He was forced to abandon his practice in Minneapolis for weeks amid international outrage over his actions.
The Independent reports:
Richard Cooke, the professional hunter accused of killing Xanda, also reportedly killed the cubs’ brother in 2015.
Mr Cooke handed Xanda’s electronic collar back to researchers.
Andrew Loveridge, from the Department of Zoology at Oxford University, told The Daily Telegraph: “I fitted it last October. It was monitored almost daily and we were aware that Xanda and his pride was spending a lot of time out of the park in the last six months, but there is not much we can do about that.”
He added: “Richard Cooke is one of the ‘good’ guys. He is ethical and he returned the collar and communicated what had happened.
“His hunt was legal and Xanda was over 6 years old so it is all within the stipulated regulations.”
Lions of Hwange National Park wrote on Facebook: “Today we heard that a few days ago, Xanda, the son of Cecil the lion has been shot on a trophy hunt by Zimbabwe PH Richard Cooke.
“Cooke also killed Xanda’s brother in 2015, he was only about four years old then. Xanda is still a young father at 6.2 years old and has several young cubs.
“We can’t believe that now, two years since Cecil was killed, that his oldest Cub Xanda has met the same fate.
“When will the lions of Hwange National Park be left to live out their years as wild born free lions should…?”