Cecil The Lion 'Suffered Incredible Cruelty For At Least 10 Hours,' New Book Says
Cecil's 2015 death created international controversy, with much of the fervor knotting around Walter Palmer, a 55-year-old Minnesota dentist and avid big game hunter. The volume of the uproar rose when it was reported no lion hunting had been legally greenlit for the
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Booze shook the secret loose from the hunting staff. They arrived thirsty at the safari lodge in the Zimbabwe wilderness in July 2015. Their pockets were fat with cash.
Drinks went down and they became chatty, talking about a huge lion killed days earlier by a visiting trophy hunter. The lodge workers overhearing the boasts immediately wondered if the hunters were talking about Cecil, the 12-year-old lion who prowled the Kalahari woodlands of the Hwange National Park, according to a new book by Oxford University researcher Andrew Loveridge.It would prove to be the first clue in unraveling how Cecil was killed. The big cat had not been seen since July 1. Jericho, the area's other male lion, had filled the recent nights with lonely, unanswered calls. The lodge workers relayed what they'd heard to a National Parks ranger.Cecil's 2015 death created international controversy, with much of the fervor knotting around Walter Palmer, a 55-year-old Minnesota dentist and avid big game hunter. Palmer had reportedly paid local hunters and guides $50,000 to bring down Cecil with a bow-and-arrow on the Gwaai Conservancy, a private wildlife refuge bordering the park. The volume of the uproar rose when it was reported no lion hunting had been legally greenlit for the area.Palmer later issued a public apology stating that he "had no idea that the lion (he) took was a known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study." Although Palmer's guide was initially charged for his part in Cecil's death, a Zimbabwe high court later dropped the proceedings.Loveridge's book, "Lion Hearted: The Life and Death of Cecil and the Future of Africa's Iconic Cats," offers the first detailed account of Cecil's last hours, including new information on how the hunters lured the lion out of the park to his death. The book, based on interviews with members of the hunt and the analysis of Loveridge's data, also corrects many of the factual errors plaguing news coverage of the death.