Do you remember Cecil
? He was the lion that American dentist Walter Palmer shot in cold blood near Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. When the world learned of Cecil's death, they were rightfully enraged. The lion was one of the most famous in Zimbabwe, if not Africa, and he had grown up wild but used to being in the presence of humans.
Well, now a similar tragedy has come to Zimbabwe's southern neighbor.
This time the lion's name is Skye
. Skye was one of the most beloved lions in South Africa's famed Kruger National Park (KNP). He was not only a pride leader but he was a father to very young cubs. But none of that mattered to a big game hunter who paid around $75,000 to take his life.
Skye has been missing for about a week. The day he disappeared a hunter on the adjacent Umbabat Private Nature Reserve (UPNR) shot and killed a male lion that authorities believe to be Skye. If the lion had stayed within KNP he would have been safe. Animals in the national park are fully protected and have grown used to relative up-close contact with humans. Unfortunately, hunting is allowed within UPNR.
Previously, the two properties were separated by a fence, but because the environment was under stress, officials agreed to take it down so that animals would be able to feed in a far less concentrated area. But now that the fence is gone, feckless hunters and safari guides can take advantage.
In fact, according to some accounts, the hunter in question did just that. Similar to what happened to Cecil, Skye was lured out of his refuge and killed. Authorities know who this lion killer is and they should act now to investigate and prosecute Skye's killer. Please sign the petition and demand justice for Skye.