Two years after trophy hunters killed Cecil the lion, his six-year-old son, Xanda, has now met the same tragic fate. Xanda was reportedly the pride male in a group of lions and had fathered several cubs himself. He was shot and killed after roaming outside the protected area of the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, very close to where Cecil was killed with a bow and arrow in 2015.
A Facebook group called Friends of Hwange Trust said Xanda had been killed in what is considered to be a legal hunt in the country. Xanda had been fitted with a collar, which the trophy hunter noticed and handed back to Hwange Lion Research after the kill. Sadly, because Xanda was over six years of age (he was 6.2 years old) and outside the park’s boundaries, the kill is considered legal.
Another Facebook group called Lions of the Hwange National Park confirmed the hunter's name as Richard Cooke, and explained that he also killed Xanda's brother in 2015 when he was just 4 years old.
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The headless body of Cecil, the 13-year-old star attraction of Zimbabwe’s Hwange national park, was found July 27, 2015. It is believed he had been lured out of the park, where it would have been illegal to hunt him, using a freshly killed animal as bait — a common technique used among hunters so that they can “legally” kill protected lions.
The last movements of the lion were tracked by a GPS collar that was fitted earlier by an Oxford University research team, which lead authorities to believe Cecil was shot by a bow and arrow and then tracked for two days before being shot by a rifle.
The iconic big cat’s head and hide were believed to be taken as trophies. Johnny Rodriguez, head of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, told U.K.'s The Guardian that Cecil’s death represented national heartbreak for the nation and further threatened its protected lion population.
So sad; our hearts are heavy with this latest news.
This post was written by Holly Royce. For more, check out our sister site Now To Love.