For many people, the killing of Cecil the lion in 2015, was the first time they had thought about trophy hunting. Cecil was a radio-collared lion from Hwange National Park, followed by researchers from Oxford’s WildCru, who raked in over a million in donations from the public after Cecil’s death. Cecil was one of 42 radio-collared lions that were shot by trophy hunters since the research team began their work in 1999.

Cecil roaring in his natural habitat. The best way to remember him

Sadly, in spite of a worldwide media outcry, little has changed in Zimbabwe for lions, charges were dropped against the Professional Hunter who led the dentist Walter Palmer on his trophy hunt. Cecil’s son Xanda was killed 2 years later in almost identical circumstances. And on World Lion Day THIS year Seduli the lion was killed in the same way.

hwange lions shot by trophy hunters

Hwange male lions shot by trophy hunters over the last 10 years.
Photo credit Drew Abrahamson of Captured in Africa

trophy hunters are lying in wait at the boundaries of hwange park to kill lions

Hunting concessions circle the Hwange National Park, and of course, wild animals do not recognise artificial boundaries set by humans, so when a male lion in his prime wanders outside of the boundaries of the Park, he can legally be shot by trophy hunters. Of course, not all paid guides to paying clients are so scrupulous, laying bait for lions to lure them outside of the National Park boundaries has been reported.

The bizarre age of 6 has been set for legal hunting of lions, an age when a pride male is likely to have established himself within a pride and therefore is likely to be of even greater importance to the success of his pride, serving as protector to young lions within the pride. Cecil the lion was 12 years old, and left behind young cubs in his pride. The evidence is lacking that the loss of a 6 year old lion to it’s community is neglible.

In fact a moratorium on lion trophy hunting in Zambia showed the opposite

In Zambia‘s South Luangwa National Park, scientists studied the effect of a moratorium placed on hunting lions from 2013-2015.

They observed that more cubs were born each year during the moratorium than any year with trophy hunting, and the adult male population grew significantly. As a result, they recorded an increase of 116 lions in 2012 to 209 by the end of the moratorium.