Xanda, the 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.
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.
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