The son of Cecil the Lion, whose death sparked a worldwide outcry when he was killed two years ago by a Minnesota dentist, has been shot dead near a Zimbabwe park.
A group named Friends of Hwange Trust posted the news on Facebook that six-year-old Xanda was shot on a “legal trophy hunt” several days ago.
Xanda’s father Cecil was shot and killed by trophy hunter Walter Palmer in July 2015.
The Friends group said Xanda, who was wearing a GPS collar installed by researchers, was killed outside the boundary of Hwange National Park.
Today we heard that a few days ago, Xanda, the son of #CecilTheLion has been shot on a trophy hunt by Zimbabwe PH…
Another group named Lions of Hwange National Park said Xanda was killed by a Zimbabwean professional hunter.
“Xanda is still a young father at 6.2 years old and has several young cubs,” it wrote.
Some hunting of lions and other large animals is legal in several countries — including South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe, where permits are issued allowing hunters to kill animals that are beyond breeding age.
It is outlawed in Zimbabwe’s national parks.
Following Cecil’s death, Zimbabwe’s wildlife authorities announced restrictions on hunting around the country’s biggest game reserve.
“Hunting of lions, leopards and elephant in areas outside of Hwange National Park has been suspended with immediate effect,” Edson Chidziya, head of Zimbabwe’s parks and wildlife authority Zimparks, said in a statement at the time.
This was later lifted, but some restrictions remained around lion, leopard and elephant hunts, which required written permission from the head of the parks authority, and have to be accompanied by park staff.
Mr Palmer killed Cecil after the lion was allegedly lured outside Hwange park with an animal carcass used as bait, the AP reported.
He received a torrent of abuse on social media.
Cecil was described by safari operators as an “iconic” animal, who was recognised by many visitors to Hwange for his distinctive black mane.
The killing was condemned by Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe, who said “he was yours to protect and you failed to protect him”.
Zimbabwe described the killing as illegal and said it would charge Mr Palmer, but later dropped that plan.
– with ABC