Wild Frontiers

Cecil the Lion’s son Xanda killed by trophy hunter

Xanda, 6-year-old son of Cecil the Lion, has been shot and killed by a client of Zimbabwean professional hunter Richard Cooke, a Victoria Falls resident. Xanda, in his prime years and the father of several young cubs, was killed just outside Hwange National Park, as was his famous father.

Xander, son of Cecil the Lion © Bert Duplessis, Fish Eagle Safaris

Although the hunt was reportedly legal, Cooke has refused to divulge the identity of his client. Cooke also led the hunt in 2015 that killed Cecil the Lion’s other son when that lion was 4 years old.

Like Cecil the Lion, Xanda was wearing an electronic collar, fitted by Oxford University researchers monitoring lion movements in the area. Andrew Loveridge from the Department of Zoology at the university, said: “I fitted it last October. It was monitored almost daily and we were aware that Xanda and his pride was spending a lot of time out of the park in the last six months, but there is not much we can do about that. Richard Cooke is one of the ‘good’ guys. He is ethical and he returned the collar and communicated what had happened. His hunt was legal and Xanda was over 6 years old so, it is all within the stipulated regulations.”

The 2015 killing of 13-year-old Cecil sparked international outrage after Walter Palmer shot the lion while legally hunting in Hwange National Park. Many pro-hunters declared Cecil the Lion to be ‘past his breeding prime’ and therefore fair game. One wonders what the same people would say of 6-year old Xanda’s breeding status.

See also:

More about the hunt of Cecil the Lion

Cecil the Lion’s legacy

Video: Cecil the Lion’s adorable grand cubs

Africa Geographic Editorial

We're the Africa Geographic editorial team – a diverse set of editors, designers and social media natives, all united by our passion for this addictive continent.

  • Tania D

    What a tragic waste.

  • Esme’ Blair

    Cooke should hang his head in shame. No words for this travesty.

    • Reed

      Is there no end to your greed Cooke?
      You join the ranks of the South African Messina Mafia

  • The Rock

    This is so incredibly sad and simply unfathomable that this can occur after the death of his famous father in the same area and he had a reasearch collar which they unquestionably saw. These hunting safari guides and their ruthless clients have absolutely no mercy and no conscience. Another iconic male lion killed so his head can be butchered off his body and mounted on this little weasel’s wall. Just another low life like Walter Palmer. A mere 20,000 lions left in the wild yet legal lion hunting continues????!!!! This s#%t must stop and lions must be put on the endangered species list now to stop ruthless ignorant bastards like this hunter and his guide. Such a senseless tragedy.

  • Sumedha


  • Alice

    Why is this a legal hunt? This lion was also wearing a collar for research. I don’t understand hunters at all. Tried to by joining a hunter’s forum but I was told that I was a tree-hugger. When I wrote that I peddled down the Zambezi from Chirundu to Kayemba and slept outside on a stretcher with no tent and no weapons (the guide did have a weapon just in case but only the chase animals away) the reactions were that I was mad. Wild animals will not just attack you for fun. Only humans do this. I also sat alone under a tree in Mana Pools, watching a herd of buffalo’s when a group of baboons walked past. It was so funny as the young males acted like hooligans, standing up right to pound on their chests to impress me. Their mothers pulled them away and told them to walk on. Observing animals is so much fun.

Jacis Lodges
Black Rhino
Africa Geographic