Cecil the lion’s two brothers, Humba and Netsai, are now at risk of being trophy hunted after they were exiled from their pride.
Cecil was a beloved African lion who rose to fame in 2015 after he was killed by an American trophy hunter named Walter Palmer.
The lion’s brothers, Humba and Netsai, took over Cecil’s pride and home range in Hwange National Park shortly after his death. But now, they risk suffering the same fate as their brother.
The pair were ousted from their territory by a group of five lions dubbed by locals “the Baggage Handlers,” the Facebook community World Heritage Species said.
One of Cecil’s last remaining sons is a member of the group. Since then, Humba and Netsai have been spotted wandering outside the national park, World Heritage Species said.
They are under no protection, meaning they are a prime target for hunters. There are only an estimated 20,000 lions remaining in the wild.
Rogue Rubin, who directed Lion Spy, an upcoming Netflix UK documentary, said that wild male lions like Netsai and Humba are the “most desired trophy” for big game hunters.
“The size of the lion and how dark its mane is also adding value to a lion trophy. To a big game trophy hunter, it symbolizes a huge accomplishment and reinforces man’s dominance over animals and land,” Rubin said.
Cecil’s death triggered global outrage over the controversial sport of trophy hunting. Trophy hunting is legal for professional hunters with a license in Zimbabwe, but critics say it is poorly managed. World Heritage Species shared the news of the two brothers’ exile in the hope that it would spread and protect them from hunters.
Cecil’s family has severely suffered the effects of trophy hunting. In 2017, a trophy hunter shot and killed the famed lion’s son Xanda. Rogue Rubin said that the ousting of these two lions makes them especially vulnerable.
“It is important to talk about why these two males are not in the pride anymore, keeping in mind I do not know their age. Around age 2 or 3, young male lions leave their pride and try to take over another male’s pride. Not all of them manage to do so, making them nomads and more vulnerable,” Rubin said.
It’s important to note that trophy hunting not only kills individual animals but can also disrupt entire ecosystems and cause population declines of certain species.
Additionally, trophy hunting does not contribute to conservation efforts and often results in financial gain for a select few rather than benefiting local communities.
As a society, we must recognize the importance of protecting these animals and their habitats for future generations. We can do our part by supporting conservation efforts, speaking out against trophy hunting, and promoting sustainable ecotourism as an alternative.
Let’s work together to ensure that Humba and Netsai, and all wild animals, have a chance to live and die a natural death.
This article by Nicholas Vincent was first published by OneGreenPlanet on 28 January 2023.
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