African reserve where Cecil the lion lived may have to kill 200 lions due to overpopulation
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to show that the hunt was not illegal and Walter Palmer has been cleared of any wrongdoing.
The wildlife reserve where Cecil the lion lived may have to kill up to 200 endangered lions due to overpopulation.
The Bubye Valley Conservancy says the reserve – the biggest in Africa – cannot sustain the current lion population as they are overfeeding on local wildlife. More than 500 lions live within the reserve’s boundaries.
The lion population is booming due to the “Cecil effect” – foreign hunters are deterred from hunting legally in many African wildlife reserves for fear of public backlash according to The Telegraph.
The effect is named after Cecil, a lion that was killed by Walter Palmer, an American dentist. The lion was killed after Palmer’s guides allegedly lured it out of the reserve.
An official from the reserve said shortly after the incident that Cecil may have been tracked for up to 40 hours before it was eventually killed.
The hunt was declared legal by the Zimbabwe government and Palmer was cleared of any wrongdoing.
The killing sparked worldwide outrage against trophy hunting.
In Canada, protests erupted at venues hosting hunting expos and shows.
WATCH: Protesters clash with hunters and their supporters at trophy event in Vaughan, Ont.
Bubye Valley Conservancy general manager, Blondie Leathem, says they are appealing to other institutions and wildlife reserves to take in some of the lions to avoid killing them.
“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,” Leathem said speaking to The Telegraph.
- With files from the Canadian Press
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