Trophy Hunter Kills Cecil The Lion's 6-Year-Old Son

"We can't believe that now, two years since Cecil was killed, his oldest cub has met the same fate."

Cecil the lion's son has met the same tragic fate as his father.

Xanda, as he was known, was reportedly shot dead outside Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park earlier this month, in the vicinity of where Cecil had been killed two summers ago. That death, too, sparked international outrage.

Cecil's son was shot during a big game hunt organized by Richard Cooke from RC Safaris, the Guardian reports, though the individual who pulled the trigger has yet to be named.

Travel company Lions of Hwange National Park responded to the incident with sadness and disbelief, writing:

"Xanda is still a young father at 6.2 years old and has several young cubs. We can't believe that now, 2 years since Cecil was killed, [...] his oldest cub has met the same fate. When will the Lions of Hwange National Park be left to live out their years as wild born free lions should?"

Xanda had been wearing a monitoring collar that allowed researchers to track his movements. Within the park, hunting him would have been illegal, but in recent months, and at the time of his shooting, Xanda and his pride had been wandering outside of the protected zone.

Researcher Andrew Loveridge, speaking to the Telegraph, described the hunt as "all within the stipulated regulations."

While Xanda's killing may have been legal, reports of his death are being met with reactions similar to those surrounding the death of his father. Yet, despite the backlash faced by Cecil's killer, American dentist Walter Palmer, wealthy hunters continue to pay tens of thousands of dollars for the opportunity to shoot iconic animals in Africa.

"The killing of Xanda just goes to show that trophy hunters have learned nothing from the international outcry that followed Cecil’s death," Masha Kalinina, international trade policy specialist for Humane Society International, said in a release. "They continue at a time when lions face a conservation crisis in Africa, with as few as 20,000 lions left in the wild. Xanda was a well-studied lion like his father and critical to conservation efforts in Zimbabwe. To stop lions slipping into extinction, it is critical that countries like Zimbabwe keep as many lions alive as possible and shift away from the trophy hunting industry. They should follow the examples of Botswana and Kenya, which ban trophy hunting."

Click here to learn how you can help support conservation groups committed to protecting lions like Xanda and Cecil. Also, consider adding your name to Humane Society International's pledge to end trophy hunting.