Cecil the lion was one of the biggest attractions of Zimbabwe’s biggest national park, but his fame did not save him from suffering a terrible death at the hands of a hunter.
The hunter first shot the big cat with an arrow, then spent the next two days tracking down the injured animal before killing him with a rifle.
The man proceeded to skin the lion, then hacked off his head and took it as a hunting trophy. (Scroll down for the video.)
1. Cecil the lion (pictured) strayed outside the park and was brutally attacked by a poacher, who initially used a bow and arrow to wound the beast.
The 13-year-old lion’s death is now getting conservators worried for the safety of the lion cubs who are now left unprotected in the park.
They believe that Cecil wandered beyond the boundaries of Hwange National Park, reportedly straying more than 600 miles from the park and on to private land.
The unidentified hunter reportedly saw the friendly lion, who has been used to being near humans and was often observed sitting on the park’s main road.
2. The hunter spent two days tracking the injured animal before executing him with a rifle, skinning the corpse and hacking off the head for a hunting trophy.
Then the hunter shot Cecil with an arrow, but the huge predator did not die immediately in the attack.
Badly wounded and alone, Cecil wandered in the wild for the next two days, but was eventually tracked down by the hunter, who then executed him with a rifle.
Cecil’s body was skinned and his head was chopped off, according to Jonny Rodrigues of Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force (ZCTF), an anti-poaching group.
The lion’s head is believed to have been taken as a hunting trophy and is unlikely to ever be recovered, unless the hunter is caught.
3. Cecil the lion with his pride.
The National Geographic reports that, according to a source, the lion may have been deliberately lured outside the park boundaries, before being attacked by the hunter.
Researchers had fitted the big cat with a tracking collar, however it seems that the hunter had removed it and tried to destroy all evidence.
An investigation is underway to track down the poacher.
Cecil was one of Hwange National Park’s oldest lions and was famous for his striking looks and friendly nature.
4. Cecil’s cubs — his legacy.
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