At the famous Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, he was a major attraction strutting the area with feline pride, or just couching down with the regal grace as the king of the jungle. His name was Cecil, a 13-year old lion, the head of the pride and father of six cubs.
Cecil who “never bothered anybody” and was “one of the most beautiful animals to look at” in the words of the Head of the Zimbabwe Conservative Task Force (ZCTF).
Sadly though, an American and two Zimbabwean lured Cecil out of the park at night and shot him with a crossbow. The wounded big cat was hunted down for almost two days (40 hours) by the poachers who finished him off with a gun on July 1, 2015.
Cecil was skinned and beheaded, while the poachers also tried without success to destroy the GPS collar which helped authorities track the lion’s movement. The collar was fitted to the animal by the UK-based Oxford University for a research project.
As at press time, the culprits have been identified and the two Zimbabweans have been arrested and could face jail time for up to 15 years for poaching offenses. The whereabouts of the American who is a dentist is unknown, although he is believed to have returned to the US.
What is however sadder is the fact that Cecil’s six cubs would be killed by the new male lion in the pride in order for it to get the lionesses to mate with him. “That’s how it works… it’s in the wild.” according to Johnny Rodrigues, “It’s nature taking its course.” What a shame!
Perhaps the Zimbabwean authorities should take away those cubs and put them in some kind of animal orphanage, where they can be raised and later reintroduced into the wild to protect the number of lions in the country. #savececilcubs
For additional information and updates on the subject, please visit:
Updates on #CeciltheLion
The names of the culprits in the killing of Cecil have been identified as Theo Bronkhorst, a professional hunter with Bushman Safaris, and Honest Ndlovu, a local landowner. Both Zimbabweans are alleged to have helped American dentist and game hunter Walter Palmer to lure Cecil out of the park by tying a dead animal to their vehicle to a place where Palmer could fire his crossbow at the lion.
In 2008, Palmer faced time in the US after killing a bear in Wisconsin and lying about the actual location where the action took place. The two Zimbabweans have been arrested while several important people, like former Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich are calling for the prosecution of Palmer.
‘Niyi David explores the beautiful and enthralling continent of Africa with Afro Tourism, capturing colorful memories of places, cultures and events in words and images.