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21 July 2017

Cecil the Lion’s son Xanda killed by hunters two years after father suffered same fate

Zimbabwean lion called “Cecil” was killed by American dentist and trophy hunter Walter Palmer in 2015. Picture: 2015.

THE son of Cecil the Lion has been killed by trophy hunters just two years after his father suffered the same fate.

Conservationists in Zimbabwe confirmed the son of Cecil, whose 2015 killing prompted an international outcry, has been fatally shot during a hunt.

A group named Friends of Hwange Trust said Thursday on Facebook that six-year-old Xanda, Cecil’s son, was shot on a “legal trophy hunt” several days ago.

The group said Xanda, who was wearing a GPS collar installed by researchers, was killed outside the boundary of Hwange National Park.

Cecil the lion rests in Hwange National Park, in Hwange, Zimbabwe before he was killed by trophy hunters in 2015. Picture: Andy Loveridge/Wildlife Conservation Research Unit.

Cecil the lion rests in Hwange National Park, in Hwange, Zimbabwe before he was killed by trophy hunters in 2015. Picture: Andy Loveridge/Wildlife Conservation Research Unit.Source:Supplied

Walter Palmer was accused of killing Cecil, a beloved lion, in Zimbabwe. Picture: Dennis Van Tine/ABACAUSA.COM.

Walter Palmer was accused of killing Cecil, a beloved lion, in Zimbabwe. Picture: Dennis Van Tine/ABACAUSA.COM.Source:Supplied

Another group named Lions of Hwange National Park claimed Xanda was killed by a Zimbabwean professional hunter.

“Xanda is still a young father at six years old and has several young cubs,” it wrote.

Researcher Andrew Loveridge claimed that the hunter who shot Xanda was “one of the ‘good’ guys. He described the hunter as ethical for having returned the collar and communicated what had happened.

“His hunt was legal and Xanda was over six years old so it is all within the stipulated regulations,” Mr Loveridge said.

At the age of six, Xanda was old enough to be legally targeted by big game hunters.

It is legal to hunt lions and other large animals in several countries — including South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe — where permits are issued allowing hunters to kill animals that are beyond breeding age.

The practice is outlawed in Zimbabwe’s national parks.

Trophy hunter and American dentist Walter Palmer shot Cecil the lion dead with a bow and arrow after allegedly luring him outside Hwange park with an animal carcass used as bait.

“Hunting of lions, leopards and elephant in areas outside of Hwange National Park has been suspended with immediate effect,” Zimbabwe’s parks and wildlife authority Zimparks boss said Edson Chidziya said in a statement at the time.

The restrictions were later lifted but new rules were introduced around lion, leopard and elephant hunts which require written permission from the parks authority and a staff escort.

Trophy hunters Walter Palmer and friend is accused of killing Cecil, a beloved lion, in Zimbabwe. Photo by Dennis Van Tine/ABACAUSA.COM.

Trophy hunters Walter Palmer and friend is accused of killing Cecil, a beloved lion, in Zimbabwe. Photo by Dennis Van Tine/ABACAUSA.COM.Source:Supplied

Zimbabwe described the killing as illegal and said it would charge Palmer, but didn’t follow through.

The incident prompted international outrage with Cecil described by safari operators as an “iconic animal” who was widely recognised for his distinctive black mane.

— With AP

megan.palin@news.com.au

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