Cecil the lion's son, Xanda, 'shot dead' in Zimbabwe by professional hunter

Xanda the lion (Bert Duplessis, http://www.fisheaglesafaris.com/)

The son of Cecil the lion, whose death two years ago at the hands of an American hunter caused widespread outrage, has reportedly been shot on a trophy hunt in Zimbabwe.

Xanda, the son of Cecil, was apparently shot dead by a group led by a professional hunter called Richard Cooke. Mr Cooke is also thought to have shot dead Xanda’s brother in 2015.

Yahoo News has contacted Mr. Cooke for comment.

Walter Palmer, a lifelong big-game hunter and dentist from Minnesota, touched off a global controversy when he killed Cecil, a rare black-maned lion, with a bow and arrow outside Hwange National Park in western Zimbabwe in July 2015.

Now a Facebook account seemingly linked to the park has announced Xanda’s death.

Today we heard that a few days ago, Xanda, the son of #CecilTheLion has been shot on a trophy hunt by Zimbabwe PH…

Posted by Lions of Hwange National Park on Thursday, July 20, 2017

Chris Mercer, the Executive Director of the group Campaign Against Canned Hunting, told Yahoo News: “It was only a matter of time before Cecil’s progeny would be killed as trophies. Trophy hunting is not conservation – it’s environmental terrorism.”

“Trophy hunting is such a powerful industry in South Africa”, Mr. Mercer continued, “Cecil’s death somehow touched a nerve and there has been a residual affect. But when are we going to reach the tipping point so that trophy hunting can be banned.”

Xanda was a young father, with several cubs. According to a 2015 article in The Guardian, Xanda “was seen mating repeatedly with lionesses.”

Oxford University’s Department of Zoology has a team supplying collars to monitor the lions in the Hwange National Park. Researcher Andrew Loveridge told The Telegraph that he fitted Xanda with a collar 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”, he said, “but there is not much we can do about that”.

Mr. Loveridge claimed that Richard Cooke is “one of the ‘good’ guys. He is ethical and he returned the collar and communicated what had happened”, he said. “His hunt was legal and Xanda was over 6 years old so it is all within the stipulated regulations.”

Cecil had also been fitted with a collar to track his movements but strayed outside the confines of Hwange National Park and was then shot.

While Zimbabwean authorities said Palmer had legal authority to hunt, they were stung by the international outcry over Cecil’s death and charged local hunter Theo Bronkhorst, who assisted Palmer, with failing to prevent an unlawful hunt.

Bronkhorst was accused of laying bait to lure Cecil out of the park. Palmer said at the time that no one in his hunting party realized the targeted lion was Cecil. In November 2016, a Zimbabwean court threw out the charges against Bronkhurst.