Authorities In Zimbabwe Are Hunting Down The Man Accused Of Killing A Beloved Lion

(UPDATE: The man has now been identified as an American dentist named Walter Palmer, according to the chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force)

Zimbabwean authorities are trying to locate an unnamed Spanish man accused of killing Cecil the lion, the beloved 13-year-old star attraction of Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, seen in the above video. Earlier this month, Cecil was tragically found skinned and headless after park guides were paid off €50,000 by the man for the opportunity to hunt and kill the majestic animal.

Cecil was allegedly lured out of the reserve where he lived protected, shot with a bow and arrow and then tracked for 40 hours while the poor animal suffered. If that wasn’t already depressing enough, Cecil’s newly born cubs will now suffer a similar fate.

“Cecil’s death is a tragedy, not only because he was a symbol of Zimbabwe but because now we have to give up for dead his six cubs, as a new male won’t allow them to live so as to encourage Cecil’s three females to mate,” said Johnny Rodrigues, head of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force. “The two people who accompanied the hunter have been arrested but we haven’t yet tracked down the hunter, who is Spanish.”

It’s unknown what will happen to the man once caught, as the Zimbabwe Professional Hunters and Guides Association claims the killing happened on a private safari, and was therefore not illegal. However, the fact that Cecil was lured away from a protected reserve will surely factor into the crime. No matter what the outcome, it’s not enough. I can’t even fathom a suitably harsh enough punishment for the demented monster who would commit such a heinous and selfish act.

(Via the Independent)