Cecile the Lion in Zimbabwe dead like the rest of Africa; a “deliberate accident” by a white hunter.
Cecil, named after Cecil Rhodes, and another lion believed to be his brother, were noticed in Hwange National Park in 2008. In 2009, Cecil and his brother encountered an established pride, which resulted in a fight in which Cecil’s brother was killed and both Cecil and the leader of the pride were seriously wounded; the leader was subsequently killed by park rangers because of the wounds he had received in the fight with Cecil. Cecil retreated to another part of the park where he eventually established his own pride which had up to 22 members. In 2013, Cecil was forced out from the area by two young male lions into the eastern border of the park. There, he created a coalition with another male lion named Jericho to re-establish the pride. As of July 2015, the pride consisted of Jericho, half a dozen females and up to a dozen cubs sired by Cecil or Jericho.
Cecil was the best-known animal in the national park and was identifiable by his black-fringed mane and a GPS tracking collar.The lions in the park, including Cecil, have been studied by scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit at Oxford University as part of a scientific project that has run since 1999, and his movements had been followed since 2008. Of the 62 lions tagged during the study period, 34 have died. One of the researchers on the project suggested that Cecil had become so popular because he was accustomed to people, allowing vehicles sometimes as close as 10 metres (33 ft), making it easy for tourists and researchers to photograph and observe him.
It is estimated there are between 25,000 and 30,000 lions alive in Africa. In 2013, 49 hunted lion carcasses were exported from Zimbabwe as trophies; the 2005-2008 Zimbabwe hunt “off-take” (licensed kills) average was 42 lions per year