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Killing of Cecil the lion facts for kids

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Cecil the lion at Hwange National Park (4516560206).jpg
Cecil at ease in Hwange National Park (2010)
Species Lion
Sex Male
Born c. 2002
Died 2 July 2015(2015-07-02)  (aged 13)
Hwange District, Zimbabwe
Known for Tourist attraction
Study by the University of Oxford
His death
Named after Cecil Rhodes

Cecil (c. 2002 – 2 July 2015) was a male African lion who lived primarily in the Hwange National Park in Matabeleland North, Zimbabwe. He was being studied and tracked by a research team of the University of Oxford as part of a long-term study.

On the night of 1 July 2015, Cecil was wounded with an arrow by Walter Palmer, an American recreational big-game hunter, then tracked and killed with a bow and arrow the following morning, between 10 and 12 hours later. Cecil was 13 years old when killed. Palmer had a permit and was not charged with any crime; authorities in Zimbabwe have said he is still free to visit the country as a tourist, but not as a hunter. Two Zimbabweans, the owner of the farm where the hunt took place, and the hunting guide, were briefly arrested but the charges were eventually dismissed by courts.

The killing resulted in international media attention, caused outrage among animal conservationists, criticism by politicians and celebrities and a strong negative response against Palmer. Five months after the killing of Cecil, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service added lions in India and West and Central Africa to the endangered species list, making it more difficult for United States citizens to legally kill lions on safaris. According to Wayne Pacelle, then President of the Humane Society, Cecil had "changed the atmospherics on the issue of trophy hunting around the world", adding, "I think it gave less wiggle room to regulators."

Books and other media

In the children's book Cecil's Pride (2016), author Craig Hatkoff and his daughters sought to shed light on Cecil's life and how he lived prior to his death. He reached out to those who studied Cecil's pride at Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park and got into contact with Cecil's 'biographer', researcher Brent Stapelkamp. Stapelkamp had studied Cecil for over 9 years and had accumulated photographs that were used as illustrations in the book that capture the complexities of the pride. The book highlights the relationship of Cecil and an unrelated male named Jericho who becomes co-leader with Cecil and then leader after Cecil's death.

In 2021, National Geographic Channels aired the documentary produced by wildlife filmmaker Peter Lamberti from Lion Mountain Media, Cecil: The Legacy of a King.

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