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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

Cecil the lion's son is killed by trophy hunter

Cecil the Lion was shot with an arrow by American dentist Dr Walter Palmer. Two years on, his son was also killed by trophy hunters. AJ Loveridge / Reuters
Cecil the Lion was shot with an arrow by American dentist Dr Walter Palmer. Two years on, his son was also killed by trophy hunters. AJ Loveridge / Reuters

When Cecil the lion was shot by an American dentist in 2015, it prompted an international outcry. Now another big game hunter has killed one of Cecil’s sons.

Six-year-old lion Xanda was shot earlier this week by a trophy hunter on safari not far from where his father was killed.

The hunt was organised by Zimbabwean private hunter Richard Cooke.

Like his father, Xanda was fitted with an electronic collar and was being monitored by scientists at the University of Oxford. The collar was turned in by Mr Cooke, who was described by Andrew Loveridge, the lead scientist at Oxford, as an “ethical hunter”.

The Lions of Hwange National Park, a conservation group, claimed on its Facebook page yesterday that Mr Cooke had also killed Xanda’s four-year-old brother in 2015.

“Xanda … has several young cubs”, the group wrote. “We can't believe that now, 2 years since Cecil was killed, that his oldest Cub Xanda has met the same fate” (sic).

It is illegal to hunt inside the Hwange National Park but the park is not thoroughly fenced and lions are able to wander into adjoining reserves or can be lured out by hunters.

An estimated 1500 lions are killed each year by trophy hunters.

A 2015 study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America warned that, if current trends continued, Africa’s lion population would “disappear within the next few decades”.

Africa’s lion population has shrunk from 200,000 a century ago to 20,000.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies lions as “vulnerable”. The US study recommended that lions should be treated as “endangered species”.

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