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Animal lovers are reacting with fury at the news that a lion has been shot and killed by an American big-game hunter in Zimbabwe.
The 12-year-old male lion Mopane died in Hwange National Park, where hunting is illegal, but the shooting reportedly took place in Antoinette, a neighbouring region where people are still allowed to kill animals for entertainment.
Mopane appears to have been tempted out of the park by bait placed by the hunters. After being shot, either with a rifle or a bow, he survived for several hours before finally succumbing to his injuries.
The lion was tracked, according to online reports, by a local guide named Dennis Nyakane. The hunter’s name has not been confirmed.
It happened in the same park where Cecil the Lion was notoriously shot in 2015 by a US trophy hunter, sparking international outrage.
Kitty Block, president, and CEO of the US Humane Society told the New York Post: "The perverse pleasure some people derive from killing iconic animals brought this noble lion’s life to a tragic end.
"Another trophy hunter spending tens of thousands of dollars on a globe-trotting, thrill-to-kill escapade shows humanity at its worst."
Ms Block added that the senseless could have significant knock-on effects.
"Mopane was a father and played a significant role in his pride," she said.
"Without him, his pride is now vulnerable to takeover by another male or group of males, which may lead to the killing of the cubs and females in his pride."
According to the Post, Mopane was being advertised as a potential hunting trophy by a firm called Big Game Safaris International towards the end of last year.
In a now-deleted social media post, the company allegedly offered the chance to "take a big free-roaming lion" and boasted that Mopane was the "most aggressive lion in our hunting block".
Mopane was killed close to where Cecil the lion was killed in 2015, sparking international outrage against Walter Palmer, the Minnesota dentist and avid trophy hunter who fatally shot the 13-year-old beast and the trophy hunting business in general.
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A petition demanding "Justice for Cecil" and the banning of trophy hunting in Zimbabwe soared past 300,000 signatures and Palmer’s dentistry business was swamped with abusive calls and fake negative reviews.
The dentist said at the time he hadn’t realised Cecil was a "local favourite" and added that in hindsight he regretted killing Cecil, although he maintained that everything about the hunt had been legal and above-board.
Importing hunting trophies to the US is currently legal.
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