Cecil the Lion's son, Xanda, killed by a trophy hunter

A file photo taken on Oct 21, 2012, of the much-loved Zimbabwean lion called Cecil. Two years after Cecil was killed in 2015, its son Xanda, a six-year-old lion, was reportedly killed on a trophy hunt.
A file photo taken on Oct 21, 2012, of the much-loved Zimbabwean lion called Cecil. Two years after Cecil was killed in 2015, its son Xanda, a six-year-old lion, was reportedly killed on a trophy hunt.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (NYTIMES) - Two years after Cecil the Lion was killed in a national park in Zimbabwe, sparking international outrage, its son Xanda was killed in a trophy hunt.

The lion was shot on July 7 in a hunting area just outside Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, according to Andrew Loveridge, an Oxford University researcher who had studied both Cecil and its son. Xanda, who was six years old, was wearing an electronic collar that was put on by researchers to monitor its movements.

"As researchers, we are saddened at the death of a well-known study animal we have monitored since birth," Loveridge said in an e-mail.

The Telegraph reported that Richard Cooke, of the company RC Safaris, had led the hunt, although it was not immediately clear who killed the lion.

"Richard Cooke is one of the 'good' guys," Loveridge told The Telegraph. "He is ethical and he 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."

Cooke could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

The pride spent "considerable time outside the protection of the park", Loveridge said. Xanda was shot about 2km from its edge in Ngamo Forest, in an area where hunting is legal.

The lion, which was part of a pride of three females and seven cubs, was first collared for study in July 2015, with a GPS satellite collar added in October 2016, Loveridge said. The researchers traced its whereabouts until its death.

Cecil was 13 when it was killed by Dr Walter J. Palmer, a US dentist, in July 2015. Like Xanda, it had wandered outside of its sanctuary in Hwange National Park. Palmer apologised for the killing but became the target of threats and harassment.

"The killing of Xanda just goes to show that trophy hunters have learnt nothing from the international outcry that followed Cecil's death," said Masha Kalinina, an international trade policy specialist for Humane Society International.

"Xanda was a well-studied lion like his father and critical to conservation efforts in Zimbabwe," she said.

"To stop lions slipping into extinction, it is critical that countries like Zimbabwe keep as many lions alive as possible and shift away from the trophy hunting industry."

The Humane Society said that fewer than 30,000 African lions remain.