Cecil the lion’s son was ‘deliberately shot after hunter was told he was head of pride’

Scientists monitoring the movements of Cecil the lion’s Xanda believe big game hunters deliberately slaughtered the animal despite knowing he was head of the pride.

Xanda, six, was shot dead just outside Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe last week , two years after the killing of Cecil by an American dentist prompted worldwide outrage.

Last week it was claimed that Xanda had strayed into forest outside the National Park boundaries where trophy hunting is allowed, and his death would not impact other younger lions.

But Oxford University’s Wildlife Research Conservation Unit, which tagged the lion as part of a monitoring project, said suggestions that Xanda had been ousted from his pride of seven cubs were simply not true.

Andrew Loveridge, leading the project, said his staff had warned the professional hunter, Richard Cooke, that shooting Xanda “would be detrimental to the population”.

Male lions routinely kill their rival’s offspring when they take control of a pride of females.

“These cubs are too young to survive on their own and will certainly be vulnerable to infanticide,” Mr Loveridge said in a letter.

“There is no question that Mr Cooke was fully aware that this animal was a pride male. He was a territorial male in a pride of three females with at least seven dependent cubs of between 1 and 1.5 years old.”

His comments came days after he initially praised Mr Cooke as an ethical hunter and “one of the good guys” when details of Xanda’s death emerged last week.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s