The hunter who is alleged to have killed Zimbabwe’s best-loved lion, known popularly as “Cecil,” was American and not Spanish, as had previously been reported.
A US citizen from Minneapolis, Walter J. P., was the man who shot the animal with a bow and arrow on the outskirts of the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. That’s according to Johnny Rodrigues, the head of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force (ZCTF), who has confirmed the identity of the man to EL PAÍS.
They tied a dead animal to their vehicle to lure Cecil out of the park, which is when the hunter is alleged to have shot him with a bow and arrow
The night that saw the end of the animal’s life began on July 6. Accompanied by a professional hunter Theo B., Walter J. P. is reported by ZCTF to have gone out hunting at night with a spotlight, which is when they saw Cecil.
They tied a dead animal to their vehicle to lure Cecil out of the park, which is when the hunter is alleged to have shot him with a bow and arrow.
Forty hours later, they tracked him down and used a firearm to shoot and kill the lion.
The hunters found that the lion was fitted with a GPS collar, given that he was being studied by Hwange Lion Reseach, with funds from Oxford University in the United Kingdom. They tried to destroy the collar but were unable to.
Cecil was skinned and beheaded, according to ZCTF, who have been unable to locate the head of animal. Walter J. P. is thought to have paid $50,000 for the hunt.
“The saddest part of all,” writes Rodrigues via email, “is that now that Cecil is dead, the next lion in the hierachy, Jericho, will most likely kill all Cecil’s cubs so that he can insert his own bloodline into the females. This is standard procedure for lions.”
English version by Simon Hunter.