Book: Cecil the Lion's Death Marked by 'Incredible Cruelty'

Andrew Loveridge writes death was far from instantaneous
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 7, 2018 8:33 AM CST
New Book Details Cecil the Lion's Brutal Death
In this Nov. 20, 2013 file photo Cecil the Lion rests near Kennedy One Water Point in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe.   (AP Photo/Sean Herbert, File)

When Cecil the lion was killed in July 2015, animal lovers around the world mourned. Andrew Loveridge had a heightened reason to be distraught: The Oxford University researcher had spent eight years studying the animal in northwestern Zimbabwe, and he's now sharing what the Washington Post calls the "first detailed account of Cecil’s last hours" in a new book, Lion Hearted: The Life and Death of Cecil and the Future of Africa’s Iconic Cats. It's out April 10, but National Geographic offers an excerpt. Loveridge writes that the hunting party used an elephant carcass, "presumably [dragged] behind a Land Cruiser" to the proper spot, to lure Cecil, who was then shot with a bow and arrow by Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer from a hunting blind set up in a nearby tree. Death did not come quickly.

Using GPS data from the tracking collar Cecil was wearing, Loveridge determined that he was likely shot between 9pm and 11pm on July 1. Between 11pm and 7am the next day, he moved about 500 feet. Two hours later, the lion was reportedly "finish[ed] off" with a second arrow. Loveridge writes, "He most definitely did not die instantly ... Cecil suffered incredible cruelty for at least 10 hours, severely wounded and slowly dying. ... Clearly, although the wound was severe, the arrow had missed the vital organs or arteries that would have caused rapid blood loss and a relatively quick death." Loveridge's excerpt offers more details of "anomalies in the case that carry a heavy whiff of impropriety," including an oddity regarding how Cecil's carcass was treated, here. (Cecil's son met a similar end two years later.)

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