Second Zim lion 'illegally' killed

2015-08-05 14:39

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Harare - A second lion illegally killed near where Cecil died in Zimbabwe was not wearing a collar, conservationists say.

The lion was "old enough to be kicked out of the pride but not to fight for or establish a territory yet", said the well-respected Bhejane Trust in a statement.

"It was not collared," the Trust added.

Thirteen-year-old Cecil was wearing a collar and was being tracked by researchers when he was killed last month.

There are claims that at least four or five collared lions have been killed by hunters in the western Hwange area so far this year.

A paper published on the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority's (Zimparks) website recommends that lion hunting, where it is permitted, should only be allowed for lions aged 5 to 6 years old or above. The paper says that by this age, lions have usually had a chance to sire a litter.

Illegal hunting

Headman Sibanda, 55, who is being held by police in Victoria Falls will likely appear in court on Wednesday over the killing of the (unnamed) second lion, with a bow and arrow, by US doctor Jan Seski, state media reports.

Sibanda is alleged to have contracted a professional hunter, named by the Bulawayo-based Chronicle newspaper, as John Zvinashe to help hunt this lion.

The Bhejane Trust said that Sibanda had "previous convictions" for illegal hunting and he appeared to be engaged in "quota transfer", an illegal practice whereby hunters mis-state the location of their hunt to the authorities.

"He had a permit for a lion in Lupane, where lions have not been seen for many years," the trust said in a statement.

There are conflicting claims over exactly when this killing occurred, with the Bhejane Trust saying it occurred on July 3 "just after Cecil."

But the Chronicle, apparently sticking to an earlier statement from the state Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, says it was in April.

Professional hunter Theo Bronkhorst, who was behind Cecil's killing, appeared in court last week in Hwange over the killing.

He was due to appear in court again on Wednesday but the case was postponed to September 28, reports from the town say.

The head of the Zimbabwe Professional Hunters and Guides Association Louis Muller has recommended that Bronkhorst's licence be revoked for life, according to state broadcaster ZBC.

Read more on:    theo bronkhorst  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa  |  animals

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