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this is horrible

Tourist suspected of illegally killing lion in Zimbabwe

A tourist is suspected of paying a safari operator $55,000 in order to kill Cecil, a 13-year-old lion who lived in a national park in Zimbabwe.

Cecil was well known, and wore a GPS collar as part of a research project with Oxford University. Johnny Rodrigues, head of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, told CNN that Cecil was lured out of a national park with food, shot with a crossbow, tracked for 40 more hours, and then shot and killed July 6. Rodrigues said Cecil's skin and head, which was cut off as a trophy, were found and are being held as evidence. The tourist is believed to be a Spaniard, and three other people may have been involved.

Only the operator of the safari, a member of the Zimbabwe Professional Hunters and Guides Association, has been arrested, and has a hearing set for August 6. Cecil's death is hitting David Macdonald of Oxford's Wildlife Conservation Research Unit hard. "It's not many months ago that I watched Cecil with my hand on my heart as he strayed toward a hunting concession," he said. "On that occasion he turned back into the protection of the park, but this time he made a fatal mistake and I feel deeply sad, personally." Macdonald said that research has shown when a male lion is killed, it has a ripple effect and can lead to the deaths of other males and his cubs. Cecil regularly mated with about six lionesses, and leaves behind around 24 cubs.