Almost two years to the day that a Minnesota dentist named Walter Palmer sparked world-wide outrage when he shot Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe, a new firestorm is potentially brewing. That's because Cecil's son, Xanda, has reportedly been shot by a hunter.
The news of the shooting, which took place on July 7, broke on Thursday with a post on Facebook by the group Lions of Hwange National Park. Unbelievably, it's being reported Xanda was shot in almost the exact same spot outside Hwange National Park as his father two years earlier. Xanda was Cecil's oldest son at six years old.
Details on who shot Xanda and how are still unclear, but the Facebook group claims it was a hunter with Richard Cooke Safaris out of Victoria Falls.
Xanda was wearing an electronic collar which was returned to researchers by the guide. The researcher who fitted the lion with the collar was Andrew Loveridge of Oxford's Department of Zoology. Loveridge told the Telegraph they knew from data transmitted by the collar that Xanda and his pride were spending a lot of time outside the protective boundaries of the National Park.
But he also said there wasn't much they could actually do to prevent the lions from going there.
"Richard Cooke is one of the 'good' guys," Loveridge told the Telegraph. "He is ethical and he returned the collar and communicated what had happened. His hunt was legal and Xanda was over 6 years old so it is all within the stipulated regulations."
Even though the hunt is said to be legal, Loveridge also told the Telegraph he wants to see an exclusion zone established in a three-mile radius of the park to help prevent these well-known lions from being taken by hunters.
Further details about Xanda's killing are still murky.
The incident is likely to re-open the hot debate over African trophy hunting. The Cecil the Lion incident in 2015 had scores of people divided on the issue, even hunters. Walter Palmer basically went into hiding after the incident. When he did finally speak publicly about it, he didn't say much.
There was much confusion about the legality of the hunt in the wake of Cecil's killing. While there were charges against Palmer for killing the lion illegally, they were later dropped.
Palmer has largely stayed out of the spotlight since then. Although scores of people angry about Cecil and now Xanda have taken to online review sites to voice their displeasure about Palmer's actions by leaving one-star reviews.
While there are already a lot of negative reactions emerging in the wake of Xanda's killing, it will remain to be seen if it becomes as big a story as Cecil was in 2015.
We will keep an eye on this story here at Wide Open Spaces and bring you more information if or when more details emerge.