Zimbabwe looks to cull 200 lions after hunters stay away in wake of US dentist killing ‘Cecil’

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Bubye Valley Conservancy has more than 500 lions and has warned that the population has exploded after Walter Palmer’s trophy killing led to world-wide public outcry.

Zimbabwe may be forced to shoot 200 endangered lions because hunters have shunned killing the animals since an American dentist killed national treasure ‘Cecil’.

Bubye Valley Conservancy has more than 500 lions and has warned that the population has exploded and they may have to cull around 200 as a result.

Walter Palmer, 55, vanished after he was identified as the hunter who paid around £35,000 to butcher the iconic animal in July.

The big cat had been lured from Hwange National Park on to a neighbouring farm, where Palmer shot it with a bow and arrow.Walter-Palmer (1)

Cecil, famous across Africa for his black mane and also the subject of an Oxford University research project, was just wounded.

In pain, it is believed he was tracked for 40 hours before Palmer shot him dead with his gun. Cecil was then beheaded.

Palmer denied that he went into hiding after he was identified as Cecil’s killer, and claimed that he believed the hunt was legal.

The ‘Cecil effect’ has driven wealthy hunters away, fearful of a public outcry against them.

Now Bubye is appealing for other institutions or wildlife sanctuaries to take some of its lions.

Blondie Leathem, general manager of Bubye Valley Conservancy, told the National Post: “I wish we could give about 200 of our lions away to ease the overpopulation.

Getty ImagesProtester Cathy Pierce (C) and other protesters voice their anger after Dr. Walter Palmer walks into his clinic
Protest: Cathy Pierce (centre) and other protesters voice their anger after Dr Walter Palmer walks into his clinic after coming out of hiding

“If anyone knows of a suitable habitat for them where they will not land up in human conflict, or in wildlife areas where they will not be beaten up because of existing prides, please let us know and help us raise the money to move them.”

Palmer claimed he did not realises Cecil was wearing a collar and was regarded as a national treasure.

“If I had known this lion had a name and was important to the country or a study obviously I wouldn’t have taken it,” he said.

“Nobody in our hunting party knew before or after the name of this lion.”

Zimbabwean authorities asked the U.S to extradite Palmer to face charges over the killing.-Mirror

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