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Cecil Cubs, Mothers Disappear – May Have Been Killed by Males Out to Start a New Pride

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HWANGE – Slain world famous Cecil the lion’s cubs and their mothers have disappeared from Hwange National Park, sparking fears they may have been killed by males out to start a new pride.

Cecil was skinned and beheaded after he was shot
Cecil was skinned and beheaded after he was shot

American dentist Walter Palmer killed the collared Cecil on July 1 with a bow and arrow, during an illegal hunt at Antoinette Farm in the Gwayi area.

Palmer killed the much-loved rare black-manned Cecil, who tourists flocked to view in the Hwange National Park, after luring it out of his sanctuary using the carcass of another animal.

Palmer reportedly paid $50,000 to shoot the big cat which had a GPS tracker.

Cecil left behind seven cubs which are now about 10 months old, according to researchers.

The seventh cub disappeared soon after Cecil’s death. Ecologists feared at the time that the young pride might not make it in the jungle. The problem, researchers have said, is that none of the lionesses has a collar.

The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority in August dismissed as untrue reports by the Western media that one of Cecil the lion’s cubs had been killed by a rival male who was trying to mate with its mother.

The reports could be true as researchers say there are now six cubs after one of them disappeared while the other six and their mothers have not been spotted for two weeks.

A news crew drove around the Hwange National Park for four days and failed to spot the pride.

Safari operators and tour guides who have in the past weeks been hunting for the three lionesses and the six cubs have failed to locate them.

A senior lion researcher in a project run by Oxford University at Hwange National Park, Brent Stapelkamp said there were fears the cubs could be in danger as they have not met with Jericho, Cecil’s brother since the 13-year-old big cat was killed.

“They have not been seen for some time now and I spend a lot of time now looking for that pride. The last picture was taken more than two weeks ago with their mothers,” he said in an interview at his office near Hwange Main Camp….Read More

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