A North American Hunter Was Paid $55,000 to Kill Zimbabwe’s Most Famous Lion

Remember a few months ago when we told you about the woman who killed a giraffe and took a selfie with its corpse?

Well, if you can believe it, this is worse.


Earlier this month, Zimbabwe’s most famous lion, Cecil, was found skinned and headless on the outskirts of Hwange, the country’s most renowned wildlife park. He was apparently lured out of the park into a hunting concession area with bait before being shot by an arrow. After a 40-hour pursuit, the hunter finally killed Cecil with a rifle.

New details allege that the hunter, who remains unidentified but is from North America, was paid $55,000 by a client to carry out the kill. He maintains that he was unaware of the lion’s notoriety and is “devastated” at the mistake, though it’s hard to feel sympathy for anyone who murders one of the world’s most majestic creatures for sport.

“It was a magnificent, mature lion. We did not know it was well-known lion. I had a licence for my client to shoot a lion with a bow and arrow in the area where it was shot,” he said.

The situation is worsened by the fact that Cecil’s six cubs face almost guaranteed death as well.

“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,” says Johnny Rodrigues, head of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force.

There is an ongoing search for the client who ordered the kill, as well as for the head of the lion, which carries a trophy status and is likely already beyond Zimbabwe’s borders.

People are the worst.