When Cecil the Lion was killed two years ago, he was already thirteen years old, and had fathered several cubs. He was shot with a bow and arrow not far from where he was born, just outside a park protected from hunting. Now one of his cubs, the six year old Xanda, has also been shot and killed not far from where his father was taken. The identity of the big game hunter has not yet been revealed, though the kill appears to be entirely legal and within regulations, managed by Richard Cooke from RC Safaris. Like Cecil, Xanda was also part of a study by the Department of Zoology at Oxford University. His monitoring collar was returned to researchers by Cooke after the kill.
The complex problem of big game hunting and its role not only in the ethical lives of Westerners observing the practice, but also in African ecologies and economies, was laid bare by Cecil’s death. The story dominated the news cycle for days. Celebrities expressed their feelings on the matter, as did numerous people of lesser fame through memes, tweets, and social media mourning. There were bizarre acts of vengeance. Ted Nugent called it fake news before the fake news things even got started. Will Xanda’s death will provoke the same reaction? Or are we simply inured to this sort of thing over comparatively rougher stuff in the news, like two years of a divisive election and a tense start to the current presidential administration? Is this going to be the big game version of the disaster fatigue phenomenon? That’s mostly up to the internet to decide.
That said, there seems to be less controversy in how Xanda was killed than his father. The client hasn’t yet been named, so we don’t yet know if he will be run out of town and business like the Minnesota dentist who killed Cecil. All we know is the perspective of Andrew Lovridge, one of the Oxford researchers who had been studying Cecil and Xanda. He explained that “Richard Cooke is one of the ‘good’ guys. He is ethical and he returned the collar and communicated what had happened. His hunt was legal and Xanda was over six years old so it is all within the stipulated regulations.” And now, as it was two years ago, the fact still remains that big game hunts like these, in which a lion like Xanda can go for over $50,000, fund the kind of conservation efforts the public loves to root for.
(Via: Telegraph UK)