#ShockWildlifeTruth: Cecil the Lion’s cub Xanda killed by trophy hunter in Zimbabwe

Cape Town – On 1 July 2015, Cecil the Lion was killed by an American trophy hunter in Zimbabwe, resulting in the professional hunter having his licence confiscated and facing criminal charges for poaching.

The incident sparked global uproar regarding canned lion hunting and poaching, with the Blood Lions film and campaign running worldwide with the goal to “bring an end to canned hunting and the exploitative breeding of lions and other predators on farms across South Africa”.

But despite all these global efforts to make the general public, tourists and professional hunters aware of the ramifications of pet cubbing and canned hunting, the futile death of lions in many of Africa’s parks continue at the hands of canned hunters.

Two years after the killing of Cecil the Lion, it has been reported that one of his cubs has been shot dead by a big game trophy hunter in Zimbabwe.

The six-year-old lion named Xanda, who was in his prime, was killed in similar circumstances as his father, just outside the Hwange National Park in north-west Zimbabwe, not far from where Cecil was killed in 2015.

“His death was discovered because Xanda was wearing an electronic collar, fitted by researchers monitoring his movements in the area,” reports the The Telegraph.

According to the UK news site, “when the Zimbabwean professional hunter on the shoot, Richard Cooke from RC Safaris, discovered the dead lion had a collar, he handed it back to the researchers”.

Andrew Loveridge from the Department of Zoology at Oxford University, which has a team supplying and fixing collars to monitor the lions in the Hwange National Park, says he fitted Xanda’s collar last October. “It was monitored almost daily and we were aware that Xanda and his pride were spending a lot of time out of the park in the last six months, but there is not much we can do about that,” he told The Telegraph.

“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,” he adds.

Loveridge says he hoped that there would soon be a 5km exclusion zone around the Hwange National Park so that hunters would no longer accidentally shoot collared lions that wonder outside the boundary of the Park.

“The client may have paid about £40 000 (R674 400 at R16.86/£) for the shoot and for Xanda’s head to be cured and mounted and sent to him wherever he lives,” says The Telegraph.

Remembering Cecil the Lion

Cecil the Lion’s death in 2015 placed the spotlight on trophy hunting in Africa. Although the practice is not a novelty, more and more pressure has been put on the industry’s distorted ethical arguments, in a bid to stop lion trophy hunting for good.

Cecil was killed by US hunting tourist, Walter Palmer, who reportedly has a hunting felony history, faced charges for the illegal hunt.

The 13-year-old big cat was shot at night near his birth place, close to the national park. He didn’t die immediately and was tracked down the following day. His head was cured in Bulawayo in preparation to be dried and mounted when police seized it.

The world united to bring attention to the crime committed and an image of Cecil was even projected onto the Empire State building in protest of the trophy hunt.

According to The Telegraph, more than 70% of funds to safeguard Zimbabwe’s wildlife and catch poachers come from revenue from professional hunters.

Overview of ground made to protect lions in Africa

– Australia and France have placed bans on importing lion trophies.

– The Netherlands has placed a ban on importing trophies from lions and 200 other endangered species.

– The US (the country with the most hunter-tourists) has made significant changes to have stricter import requirements.  Since January 2016, hunters wishing to import lion trophies must prove that the killing was necessary to protect lions living in the wild – which is in general very difficult to do. South African sources show that lion hunts involving hunters from the United States have decreased by 70%.

Great Britain is threatening to ban imports from 2017 if the African countries of origin do not maintain their lion numbers more effectively.

– Over 40 international airlines have banned or restricted the carrying of trophies.

– The South African hunting association PHASA has taken a firm stand against the official lion breeders in the country, the South African Predator Association (SAPA) and has distanced itself from this cruel form of hunting

Europe’s largest hunting fair, Germany’s “Jagd & Hund”, and the Austrian “Hohe Jagd & Fischerei” fair have undertaken to oppose canned hunting products and packages.

– Several African states have committed to calling for Africa’s lions to be promoted to the highest level of protection (CITES Appendix 1) at the upcoming international World Wildlife Conference, to be held in Johannesburg in September 2016. It is still uncertain whether the application will achieve the necessary majority.

Meanwhile, the South African Government plans to permit the annual export of 800 lion skeletons to curb poaching, but conservationists say this clearly supports canned lion hunting.

Back to Media

The NSPCA has huge animal welfare concerns for the animals exploited in the captive predator and canned hunting industry in South Africa. This industry is unregulated, uncontrolled and is responsible for untold cruelty. It is a tragedy that our wild animals are reduced to profit making machines. Coupled with this members of public are unwittingly encouraging and supporting this cruelty, so it is vital that the public are aware of the truth behind the industry so they can make informed decisions and hopefully choose not to support such an unethical industry.

Sr.Ainsley Hay, Manager, NSPCA Wildlife Protection Unit

Breeding magnificent wild creatures like lions in camps so that they can be slaughtered for ego and money is unconscionable and should be outlawed.  Lions have the right to live in the wild and to continue playing their unique role within the ecological communities of Africa.  The continued existence of the canned hunting industry is a moral outrage that diminishes us all.  This important film shines a light into the dark corners of this ugly business.

Cormac Cullinan, Cullinan & Associates Incorporated

Cruel, barbaric, macabre – all words used by Australian MPs about lion farming and the canned lion hunting industry in SA.  Our campaign was glad to be able to assist and participate in a full length documentary that aims to expose a brutal industry whose whole business model is routine, egregious cruelty to helpless animals – for fun.

Chris Mercer, Founder, CACH (Campaign Against Canned Hunting)

Captive lions have long been a blemish on South Africa’s wildlife and tourism landscape and their tragic story needed to be exposed before these practices negatively impacted on Brand South Africa. Congratulations to all involved in taking the time and making this happen.

Colin Bell, Tourism consultant and author of “Africa’s Finest”

“As a travel and conservation based organization, we find the “Blood Lions” documentary deeply disturbing. Despite being hard to watch, we urge people to get out there and see it. It is important to shed light on the dark and corrupt business of rearing lions for the purposes of hunting, in hopes of making a positive change. As we polled our membership, we found that individually each of our companies have chosen to stop booking all activities that contribute to this industry.”

The Safari Professionals – 30 Tour Operators based in the US and Canada

South Africa’s failure to address the canned hunting industry has emboldened those who make a living out of the death of lions bred, raised and slaughtered on a ‘no kill, no fee’ basis. The canned hunting industry is unnatural, unethical and unacceptable. It delivers compromised animal welfare and zero education. It undermines conservation and creates a moral vacuum now inhabited by the greed and grotesque self-importance of those who derive pleasure in the taking of life.

Blood Lions lays bare the truth behind the canned hunting industry that, far from contributing to the future survival of the species, may, in fact, accelerate extinction in the wild, leaving behind a trail  littered with rotting corpses of its helpless and hopeless victims.

Will Travers OBE, President Born Free Foundation

The Marchig Animal Welfare Trust, in providing support for the making of this Documentary, does so in the firm belief that it is important that the true facts behind captive lion breeding and canned lion hunting in South Africa, is brought to the attention of a global audience in order to create awareness which in turn will lead to much needed change.

Les Ward MBE, Chairman, The Marchig Animal Welfare Trust

This is a timely, courageous as well as a deeply disturbing documentary. It is at the same time, a voice for the wild and the voiceless … of saying “NO MORE!” to that terrible triad of financial opportunism, deceit and indifference to the non-human animal by those claiming to be conservationists.

Ian McCallum – Author, poet, psychiatrist and naturalist

With the constant pressure on wildlife, every effort must be made to keep our last vestiges of natural fauna and flora protected.    Canned hunting of any kind, along with the related consequences, must be condemned by humanity as not only a travesty of nature but also an utterly inhumane practise.   Taming lion cubs only to later hunt them is an utterly inhumane practice.   It is pseudo-hunting, a complete sham and does not even qualify as hunting on a sustainable use basis.   Wildlife conservation has to evolve into practices that are ethical, humanitarian and sustainable. This will not be achieved if there is not real and fair community involvement which has not been part of the hunting fraternity’s evolution.

Yvette Taylor, Executive Director, The Lawrence Anthony Earth Organisation

“Canned lion ‘hunting’ is nothing less than a bargain basement opportunity for foreign hunters to engage in one of South Africa’s most sordid practices. Hunting of captive bred lions entirely dependent on human fingerprints from cub to trophy is immoral, unethical and against all animal welfare concerns. The fact that it still continues as profitable commerce is a damning statement against all of us who have not properly engaged to snuff it out. Blood Lions is a good start to bring change.”

Dr Pieter Kat – Director: LionAid

Canned Lion