Cecil the lion was skinned and his head removed

Hwange - A well-known and much-photographed black-maned lion affectionately named Cecil was killed by sport hunters just outside Hwange in Zimbabwe last week.

Wildlife enthusiasts say Cecil, possibly Hwanges’s largest lion, was a favourite among visitors to Zimbabwe’s premier national park as he was extremely relaxed around safari vehicles.

Cecil was wearing a collar when shot with bow and arrow by a Spanish hunter in the Gwaai concession that borders the park.

Alledgely, Cecil did not die immediately and it took a further two days to track him and kill him with a rifle.

The lion was skinned and his head removed as a trophy. There may have been an attempt to destroy the collar and hide it but it was later found.

Apparently there is no permitted quota to shoot lions in the Gwaai area but Zimbabwean hunters posting in online forums have insisted the hunt was legal.

The Zimbabwe Professional Hunters and Guides Association (ZPHGA) said in its statement late Monday confirming that the professional hunter, Theo Bronkhorst, accompanying the Spanish client was one of its members.

Legal or not, the death of Cecil, who has been a favourite icon in the area for over thirteen years, has caused deep concern among many conservationists about the practice of lion trophy hunting.

In a press release, Beks Ndlovo, CEO of the African Bush Camps group of companies, stated: “In my personal capacity.

I strongly object and vehemently disagree with the legalising and practice of hunting lions in any given area. I will personally be encouraging Zimbabwe National Parks and engaging with Government Officials to stop the killing of lions and with immediate effect.”

Bryan Orford a regular visitor to Hwange and who has filmed Cecil on numerous occasions says Cecil was Hwange’s “biggest tourist attraction. Not only a natural loss, but a financial loss.”

Orford reckons that with tourists from just one lodge collectively paying $9 800/day, Zimbabwe would have earned more in just 5 days by having Cecil’s photograph taken, than being shot by someone paying a single one-off fee of $45 000 with no hope of future revenue.

A full investigation by the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Authority and the safari industry at large has been initiated and a meeting has been called for all stakeholders to discuss the incident and find a resolution.

This article was distributed by the Conservation Action Trust and is used with their permission.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Eskom has considered continuous load shedding at Stage 2, instead of introducing it when the power system faces a crunch. What are your thoughts?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
I'm all for it - we're going to have power cuts regardless, so we might as well have some stability to better plan our lives
45% - 4613 votes
No thanks! I prefer having periods of no load shedding and we cannot normalise this crisis
55% - 5627 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
18.03
-0.4%
Rand - Pound
19.56
-0.9%
Rand - Euro
17.42
-0.3%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.72
-0.2%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-0.2%
Gold
1,645.23
+0.1%
Silver
18.82
-0.3%
Palladium
2,067.50
-0.3%
Platinum
863.00
+0.5%
Brent Crude
86.15
-5.0%
Top 40
56,738
-0.7%
All Share
63,007
-0.7%
Resource 10
55,619
-1.2%
Industrial 25
78,718
+0.4%
Financial 15
13,883
-1.8%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE