Two years ago, there was a global public outcry as the cruel killing of Cecil the lion hit the news. Known to conservation groups and visitors, the 13-year-old lion was hunted by an American dentist, Walter Palmer, using a bow and arrow.
The death wasn’t instant — the injured lion was tracked down and killed the next day. This happened on 1st July 2015 when Cecil wandered outside the protective boundaries of Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.
Now, 2 years later, his 6-year-old son Xanda has unwittingly followed in his footsteps. A big game trophy hunter under the supervision of Richard Cooke, a Zimbabwean private hunter, shot Xanda on 7th July 2017 outside Hwange National Park’s borders, not far from where Cecil was killed.
News of Xanda’s death became public knowledge on 20th July when his GPS tracking collar was handed in, one of many collars Cooke is reported to have handed over.
The scientists who fitted these collars have been studying the Hwange lions for several years and have repeatedly called for a 5 km no-hunting zone around Hwange National Park. However, these scientists – along with many supporters of trophy hunting – also claim that the gruesome pastime is a sustainable conservation tool, generating funds that actually aid conservation and help increase wildlife populations.
We’re sure that many of you – like us here at Blogimal – strongly disagree and feel this is a somewhat blinkered approach to the so-called ‘sport’. The population of wild lions in the whole of Africa has actually decreased by 90% in the last century. Only 20,000 lions remain in the wild.
As highlighted by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the appreciation and enjoyment of these animals should occur in their natural environments. Sustainable ecotourism is the way forward and trophy hunting should be a thing of the past.
The Born Free Foundation works tirelessly in its efforts to restrict, and ultimately ban, trophy hunting to help protect this iconic species. Not only does Born Free want other countries to follow the examples of Kenya, Botswana and Costa Rica, which have banned trophy hunting, but it wants them to restrict the importation of ‘trophies’ from animals. It is hoped that this restriction will act as a deterrent for many hunters.
You can help put an end to trophy hunting when you sign this petition and spread the word.
Let’s hope there’s a brighter future in store for Xanda’s cubs. Watch this lovely clip of Cecil with his grandcubs:
What are your views about trophy hunting? Let us know your thoughts on this emotive subject in the comments section below.
Photo credit: Bert Duplessis of Fish Eagle Safaris