Cecil the lion was killed by a trophy hunter in Kalahari woodlands of the Hwange National Park on July 2015. Now, Oxford University researcher Andrew Loveridge is claiming he knows the tragic truth behind the beloved animal’s slow death.
Walter Palmer, a 55-year-old Minnesota dentist paid $50K to local hunters to shoot Cecil with a bow-and-arrow after luring him out of the National Park.
While Palmer apologized for killing the beloved 12-year-old lion — claiming he did not know lion-hunting was illegal in the area and that the animal was being studied – scientists and wildlife-lovers were outraged.
In his book, Lion Hearted: The Life and Death of Cecil and the Future of Africa’s Iconic Cats, Loveridge said that everyone was heartbroken when the animal they had been studying for eight years, was brutally slaughtered. He admitted that while the loss itself was devastating, scientists were even more angered by the lion’s death after discovering how much he suffered following the shooting.
In July 2015, trophy hunters dropped an elephant carcass near the National Park in an attempt to lure Cecil the lion towards them. The plan worked, as just as Cecil came out to devour his meal, Palmer shot him with a bow-and-arrow.
Cecil survived the first hit, but lay on the ground for about 10 hours, struggling to stay alive, according to Loveridge.
“It is clear that Cecil was at this stage mortally wounded and hadn’t moved far from where he was shot,” Loveridge claimed in his book. “This is corroborated by the GPS data from Cecil’s collar, which allows a forensic reconstruction of events. The collar sent a position from the hunt site at just before 9 p.m. By 11 p.m. the collar’s position had moved 80 meters roughly southeast from the carcass. It therefore seems probable Cecil was shot at some point between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. on July 1.”
According to the researcher, Palmer and the other hunters finished off Cecil “10 to 12 hours after being wounded.”
“Cecil suffered incredible cruelty for at least 10 hours, severely wounded and slowly dying,” wrote the author. “Clearly, although the wound was severe, the arrow had missed the vital organs or arteries that would have caused rapid blood loss and a relatively quick death. Certainly, the lion was so incapacitated that in all those hours he’d been able to move only 350 meters from the place where he was shot.”
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