World

Cecil The Lion's Son, Xanda, Killed By Big Game Hunters

| by Sarah Zimmerman
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Two years after Cecil the lion's death, his oldest cub, Xanda, was shot and killed by big game trophy hunters.

The lion was killed July 7 outside Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, according to The New York Times. He was 6 years old and had a pride and cubs. 

Xanda was wearing an electronic monitoring collar and was under careful study by scientists.

"As researchers we are saddened at the death of a well-known study animal we have monitored since birth," said Andrew Loveridge, a researcher at Oxford University.

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Two years earlier, the death of Xanda's father, Cecil, sparked international outrage, according to CNN. In 2015, dentist Walter Palmer bribed wildlife guides with $55,000 to shoot the lion with a crossbow. He coaxed the animal out of the park with food, tracked it for more than 40 hours, and later beheaded and skinned it. Palmer received no official charges.

"We can't believe that now, 2 years since Cecil was killed, that his oldest Cub Xanda has met the same fate," read a Facebook post from Lions of Hwange National Park. "When will the Lions of Hwange National Park be left to live out their years as wild born free lions should?"

It's unclear who, exactly, killed Xanda, but sources familiar with the matter said that the safari was led by a professional hunter and his client was a Spanish native. The hunt was a legal expedition and the hunter was properly registered to be in the area.

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Animal rights activists are already condemning Xanda's death and are calling on Zimbabwe to ban trophy hunting all together.

"The killing of Xanda just goes to show that trophy hunters have learned nothing from the international outcry that followed Cecil's death," said Masha Kalinina from Humane Society International. "They continue at a time when lions face a conservation crisis in Africa, with as few as 20,000 lions left in the wild. Xanda was a well-studied lion like this father and critical to conservation efforts in Zimbabwe."

Xanda's death could also have consequences on his cubs and his entire pride. The World Heritage Species Group told ABC that "their safety and survival is now in jeopardy if a new male comes along and attempts to take over."

All of this only exacerbates a declining African Lion population. Hunting, as well as human encroachment on habitats, has negatively affected the species and many animal humane societies estimate that there are only 20,000 wild lions left in Africa. 

Sources: The New York Times, CNN, ABC / Photo credit: Mario Micklisch/FlickrBert Duplessis/Facebook, USFWSmidwest/Flickr

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