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Killing Cecil the lion’s son, Xanda, has dire consequences

Xanda, the 6-year-old son of Cecil, the lion killed by a Minnesota dentist two years ago, has met the same fate as his father. Despite wearing a research collar, the lion was killed by an unnamed hunter on safari.
The killing of Cecil by dentist Walter Palmer outraged thousands around the world and put a spotlight on big game hunting. Palmer, who had paid $50,000 for the safari, was cleared of wrongdoing because authorities believed he did not know the hunt was illegal.
Like his father, Xanda was wearing a research collar, but authorities say the killing was legal. The lion was 6 years old, the minimum age, and along with his pride, the lion had been spending time outside of the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.
A Facebook page, Lions of Hwange National Park , reported the death Thursday, saying it had occurred some days earlier. The organizer of the hunt, Richard Cooke Safaris, reportedly returned the collar to officials at the park.
The group posted a statement on its Facebook page, along with an important question:
“When will the Lions of Hwange National Park be left to live out their years as wild born free lions should?”
Cecil and Xanda are not the first lions at the park to be killed. In the past 15 years, 60 so-called protected lions have been taken by trophy hunters.
But we’re not just talking about one lion, or even 60. Each death extends far beyond one life and into future generations that will never be.
Xanda’s death means there is one less potent male lion to produce offspring for a lion population that is dwindling every year. And his death also likely dooms his offspring. Without him in the pride, another male will take over and as biology drives the new lion to ensure his genes are continued, he will kill Xanda’s children.
The news of Xanda’s death, as it did with his father’s, quickly drew condemnation from animal rights activists and supporters
“The killing of Xanda just goes to show that trophy hunters have learned nothing from the international outcry that followed Cecil’s death,” said Masha Kalinina, international trade policy specialist for Humane Society International. “They continue at a time when lions face a conservation crisis in Africa, with as few as 20,000 lions left in the wild. Xanda was a well-studied lion like this father and critical to conservation efforts in Zimbabwe.”
Kalinina said to stop lions from slipping into extinction, countries such as Zimbabwe should work to keep as many lions alive as possible and shift away from the trophy hunting industry, following the examples of Botswana and Kenya, which ban trophy hunting.
I have friends and family who are hunters, but all of them hunt for food, not for trophies. While big game hunters talk about the thrill, the danger and the excitement of facing a powerful creature while armed with nothing more than 21st century technology, I don’t believe a stuffed head on a wall and an exciting story to tell at parties is worth hunting animals to extinction.

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