The recent death of Cecil the Lion has sparked media outrage and I have watched the story unfold with keen interest. I have been very curious as well as saddened, to learn the facts along with all sides of the argument. For those of you who are not familiar with this story Cecil was a 13 year old Lion who lived in Hwanga National Park in Zimbabwe. He was a kind of celebrity and favourite tourist attraction to those who visited the park over the years. Both because of his indifference to people who were driving by wanting to take pictures of him and because of the story of how he came to be there.
Cecil, named after Cecil Rhodes, and his brother became known to the National park in 2008 when they got into a fight with another pride of lions. This fight resulted in the death of his brother and in Cecil being seriously injured. After that he was forced out of his own pride and so he teamed up with another male lion called Jericho. Together they created their own pride comprised of about a half a dozen female lions and a dozen cubs. Cecil and Jericho became part of a Wildlife Conservation Study run by Oxford University. They both have GPS collars that track their whereabouts. Out of sixty-two lions that are involved in the study, which began in 1999, thirty-four have since died. Cecil was particularly identifiable however due to his black mane. Visitors to the park knew him well.