Meet the Man Who Knew Cecil the Lion Best


©Regan Arts

This animal was shot with an arrow and took hours and hours to die, in incredible pain.

Originally, the media claimed it took 48 hours for Cecil to die. We don’t know where that number came from. But because Cecil was radio collared we could tell exactly when he was at the site where he was hunted and follow his pathway until the time when the hunters went back and killed him. We could tell it was between 10 and 12 hours. He was mortally wounded and moved only about 300 meters in 12 hours, which is hardly any distance for a lion at all. He was clearly very badly injured.

We don’t know exactly what happened because the hunters aren’t going to tell us. We think he probably got shot with the arrow, ran maybe 20-40 meters, possibly into some thick vegetation. We think the hunters said, “He is going to die, so we’ll just wait until he’s dead from the arrow wound.”

Part of the reason for that is that Walter Palmer is a bow hunter and many hunters like him want to get their trophy recorded in a record book. One of the regulations for bow hunters is that the animal has to be killed with a bow and arrow. You can’t go and shoot it with a rifle later.

I can’t understand what motivates somebody to kill something that beautiful for pleasure. But to then say, “I’m going to leave this animal to die in pain from an arrow wound because I want to get my name in a record book,” is absolutely crazy. It was this mistreatment of a sentient animal that people found so outrageous.

© Photograph by A. J. Loveridge Wildlife biologist Andrew Loveridge studied Cecil for seven years after attaching a tracking collar to the lion.


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