A hunter allegedly shot one of Africa’s most famous lions with a bow and arrow, then tracked it for two days while it was bleeding to death before finishing it off with a gun.
Now the hunter has become the hunted. The lion was Cecil, a 13-year-old male, famous because he was wearing a GPS collar for part of a study by Oxford University which was researching his movements within his home at Hawange national park, Zimbabwe.
It is alleged the information from that collar shows Cecil may have been lured outside the park’s boundaries, where it was legal to kill him. There are reports of tourists saying Cecil was not afraid to approach humans and appeared to enjoy “posing” for photographs.
Here’s a recent Facebook video of Cecil looking not particularly difficult to hunt:
Authorities are still chasing the hunter, who was originally identified as Spanish but new reports claim he is North American.
The hunter who guided him has been quoted anonymously claiming he did not know the lion he killed was famous and was “devastated” by the mistake.
Authorities say Cecil was bleeding and on the run for 40 hours before he was eventually killed with a rifle. He was skinned and beheaded.
The whereabouts of Cecil’s head are still unknown.
The Zimbabwe Professional Hunters and Guides Association admitted that its members were involved and that the case was being investigated.
Worse news came from the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, which said Cecil’s six cubs were unlikely to survive the death of their father.
“Cecil’s death is a tragedy, not only because he was a symbol of Zimbabwe but because now we have to give up for dead his six cubs, as a new male won’t allow them to live so as to encourage Cecil’s three females to mate,” the head of the non-profit charity said in a statement.
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