Eight critically endangered black rhinos die after drinking saltier water than they were used to when they were moved to a new reserve in Kenya

  • Tragic loss of endangered black rhinos thought to be caused by salt poisoning
  • Operation aimed to boost species population, but eight of 14 died in transit
  • Translocation of endangered animals is risky and involves putting them to sleep
  • Conservationists in Kenya demand responsibility be taken after sad news broke
  • Death toll is ‘unprecedented’ in more than a decade of such animal transfers

Eight out of 14 critically endangered black rhinos died after being moved to a new reserve in southern Kenya, wildlife officials admitted on Friday.

The Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife said salt poisoning may have caused the rhinos to perish as they struggled to adapt to saltier water in their new home.

It has suspended the ongoing move of other rhinos with the surviving ones being closely monitored.

Eight critically endangered rhinos died of suspected salt poisoning while being moved from Nairobi and Lake Nakuru in Kenya

Eight critically endangered rhinos died of suspected salt poisoning while being moved from Nairobi and Lake Nakuru in Kenya

The black rhinos were being translocated to Tsavo East National Park in the hope of boosting species population

The black rhinos were being translocated to Tsavo East National Park in the hope of boosting species population

The relocation of endangered animals involves putting them to sleep for the journey and then reviving them in a process which carries risks.

But the loss of more than half of them is highly unusual.

Prominent Kenyan conservationist Paula Kahumbu said officials must take responsibility and should have explained what went wrong sooner.

‘Rhinos have died, we have to say it openly when it happens, not a week later or a month later,’ she said.

‘Something must have gone wrong, and we want to know what it is.’

It was hoped moving rhinos to the newly created Tsavo East National Park from Nairobi would boost the population there, AP reported.

The wildlife ministry said ‘disciplinary action will definitely be taken’ if an investigation into the deaths indicates negligence by agency staff.

14 black rhinos were moved in all.

The death toll while moving from the capital to a national park hundreds of kilometres away has been labelled ‘unprecedented’ by the government.

‘Moving rhinos is complicated, akin to moving gold bullion, it requires extremely careful planning and security due to the value of these rare animals,’ Kahumbu added.

‘Rhino translocations also have major welfare considerations and I dread to think of the suffering that these poor animals endured before they died.’

In transit from two separate locations, eight out of 14 of the endangered black rhinos died while moving to Tsavo East National Park

In transit from two separate locations, eight out of 14 of the endangered black rhinos died while moving to Tsavo East National Park

There are an estimated 5,500 black rhinos in the world, a figure that has rebounded from just 350 that existed when the species was on the brink of extinction in 1983

There are an estimated 5,500 black rhinos in the world, a figure that has rebounded from just 350 that existed when the species was on the brink of extinction in 1983

In May, six black rhinos were moved from South Africa to Chad, restoring the species to the country in north-central Africa nearly half a century after it was wiped out there.

Kenya transported 149 rhinos between 2005 and 2017 with eight deaths, the wildlife ministry said.

Save the Rhinos estimates there are fewer than 5,500 black rhinos in the world, all of them in Africa.

Kenya’s black rhino population stands at 750, according to the Worldwide Fund for Nature.

According to KWS figures, nine rhinos were killed in Kenya last year.

In May, three more were shot dead inside a specially-protected sanctuary in northern Kenya and their horns removed, while in March the last male northern white rhino on earth, an elderly bull named Sudan, was put down by Kenyan vets after falling ill.

The black was on the brink of extinction after a dramatic 98 percent decline in population from 20,000 in 1970 to about 350 in 1983, says WWF.

The decline was caused by escalating illegal poaching for illegal markets in the Middle East and Asia.

Black rhinos are considered critically endangered but its population has rebounded, although the species remains threatened due to poaching and habitat loss.

Nearly 90 elephants slaughtered near wildlife sanctuary in Africa, tusks taken by poachers

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/09/04/elephants-killed-wildlife-sanctuary-africa-poachers/1188864002/

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An aerial survey discovered bodies of 87 slaughtered elephants near a wildlife sanctuary in Botswana, Africa.

Many of the dead elephants were ripped of their tusks, and left with mutilated skulls — a sign of poaching.

Wildlife conservation organization Elephants Without Borders found the “alarming”rate of dead elephants while flying an aerial census supported by the Botswana government.

“People did warn us of an impending poaching problem and we thought we were prepared for it,” Mike Chase, director and founder, said in a statement.

The country recently disarmed its anti-poaching unit under president Mokgweetsi Masisi.

Chase told the BBC this is the largest incident of elephant poaching he’s ever seen or read about in Africa. The carcasses were found near the the Okavango Delta wildlife sanctuary, a popular tourist destination.

Poachers killed many of the elephants within the last few weeks, according to a poaching incident report obtained by NPR. Three white rhinoceroses were also killed in the same area over the past three months, according to the report.

Botswana is home to the world’s largest elephant populations and has been praised for its protection of elephants in the past.

More: Elephants rarely get cancer thanks to ‘zombie gene,’ study finds

The 2016 Great Elephant Census, which reported more than 130,000 elephants in Botswana, also revealed African savanna elephant populations were declining by 30 percent in 15 of the 18 Africa countries surveyed. A map from that report showed Botswana’s elephant population was in stable condition as neighboring Angola, Zimbabwe, and a small area of Zambia saw decreasing populations.

But, that trend could be changing, as Chase told the BBC “poachers are now turning their guns to Botswana.”

More: How the power of music brought peace to this elephant

Dozens of elephants killed in Botswana

Baby elephants are seen in the photo: Baby elephants, orphaned by poachers, are now being cared for at a new sanctuary in Botswana© Elephants Without Borders Baby elephants, orphaned by poachers, are now being cared for at a new sanctuary in Botswana

of nearly 90 elephants have been found near a famous wildlife sanctuary in Botswana, conservationists say.

Elephants Without Borders, which is conducting an aerial survey, said the scale of poaching deaths is the largest seen in Africa.

The spike coincides with Botswana’s anti-poaching unit being disarmed.

Botswana has the world’s largest elephant population, but poachers have been breaching its border.

The scientist carrying out the extensive wildlife survey said many of the 87 dead elephants were killed for their tusks just weeks ago – and that five white rhinos have been poached in three months.

“I’m shocked, I’m completely astounded. The scale of elephant poaching is by far the largest I’ve seen or read about anywhere in Africa to date,” said Dr Mike Chase from Elephants Without Borders.

“When I compare this to figures and data from the Great Elephant Census, which I conducted in 2015, we are recording double the number of fresh poached elephants than anywhere else in Africa.”

That census estimated a third of Africa’s elephants had been killed in the last decade and 60% of Tanzania’s elephants had been lost in five years.

Botswana has had a reputation for an unforgiving approach to poachers and had largely escaped the elephant losses seen elsewhere.

Despite a lack of fences on the international border, data from tracking collars showed elephants retreating from Angola, Namibia and Zambia and deciding to stay within the boundaries of Botswana where it was thought to be safe.

Incidents of poaching in the country were rare because of armed and well-managed anti-poaching units.

With 130,000 elephants, Botswana has been described as their last sanctuary in Africa as poaching for ivory continues to wipe out herds across the rest of the continent.

The first sign that was changing came two years ago when the BBC flew with Mr Chase close to the Namibian border and he discovered a string of elephant carcasses with their tusks removed for the first time.

But these latest killings have been found deep into Botswana – close to the protected Okavango Delta wildlife sanctuary, which attracts tourists from around the world.

“People did warn us of an impending poaching problem and we thought we were prepared for it,” said Mr Chase, who pointed to the disarmament of the country’s anti-poaching unit as a cause.

“The poachers are now turning their guns to Botswana. We have the world’s largest elephant population and it’s open season for poachers.

“Clearly we need to be doing more to stop the scale of what we are recording on our survey.”

Botswana’s 2018 Wildlife Aerial Survey is only half-way through and conservationists fear the final figure of poached elephants will be a lot higher.

The survey area is split into sections, or transepts, and the plane flies back and forth like a lawnmower cutting the grass – turning at each end to ensure nothing is missed.

“Fresh carcasses” are those lost within the last three months, but many of those recorded had been killed within the last few weeks.

Conservationists fear the scale of this new poaching problem is being ignored as it is bad for the country’s reputation.

“This requires urgent and immediate action by the Botswana government,” said Mr Chase.

“Botswana has always been at the forefront of conservation and it will require political will.

“Our new president must uphold Botswana’s legacy and tackle this problem quickly. Tourism is vitally important for our economy, jobs, as well as our international reputation which is at stake here as being a safe stronghold for elephants.”

Ranger trying to save rhinos shot, killed by poachers

https://www.sfgate.com/world/article/Poachers-kill-ranger-rhinos-Kruger-South-Africa-13092039.php

Published FILE - A South African ranger searches from a helicopter for a poacher on the run in Kruger National Park, South Africa. Photo: James Oatway/Sunday Times/Getty Images / 2014 Gallo Images (PTY) LTD

A game ranger was killed in a shootout Thursday with rhino poachers he had been trailing, South African National Parks officials said.

The 34-year-old ranger was a member of a unit that had been tracking a gang of poachers with dogs in the Kruger National Park, according to multiple reports. When the rangers confronted the gang, the poachers opened fire.

In the exchange of gunfire, the ranger was shot in the upper body while still in his vehicle.

RELATED: Rhino poachers eaten alive by lions

First aid was administered and a doctor flown in, but although he was stabilized at the the scene, the ranger died en route to a hospital, Kruger National Park spokesperson Ike Phaahla told News24.

The poachers got away, but  they apparently were unable to kill any animals as there were no carcasses in the vicinity, the South African reported.

A police investigation is underway.

New Study Reveals There Maybe Twice as Many Gorillas Than Previously Thought A new study in the journal ‘Science Advances’ says there may be almost 361,900 in western Africa, up from earlier estimates of 150,000-250,000. According to The Guardian, despite the results from the decade-long survey, gorillas remain a critically endangered species. The population of gorillas across Africa have declined as a result of disease, deforestation and poaching. Gorillas reach maturity after 11 or 12 years and only give birth every four years, meaning it will take time for the population to rebuild. Prof. Fiona Maisels, from the Wildlife Conservation Society, to The Guardian

Media: Wibbitz

The ranger’s identity was withheld pending notification of kin.

MORE: Only the poacher’s head was left

“We have lost a patriot who died on duty protecting South African assets and who was well trained to defend himself, hence our shock on learning of this incident,” parks CEO Fundisile Mketeni said. “We will draw strength from his contribution to the anti-poaching campaign and as his colleagues, we are going to continue where he left off in honor of his memory.”

Endangered black rhinos die in Kenya reserve

A male black rhinoceros in a crate about to be transferred at Nairobi National Park, 26 June 2018Image copyrightAFP
Image captionEstimates suggest there are fewer than 5,500 black rhinos in the world

Eight endangered black rhinos have died while being transported to a new wildlife reserve in Kenya.

They died after drinking water with high concentrations of salt, the Kenyan government says.

The animals were among 14 black rhinos being transported from Nairobi National Park to the country’s biggest national park, Tsavo East.

Estimates suggest there are fewer than 5,500 black rhinos in the world, all of them in Africa and some 750 in Kenya.

Kenya Wildlife Service vets believe the more the animals drank, the thirstier they became, which quickly lead to salt poisoning, although an independent investigation has been launched to confirm the cause of death.

Kenyan conservationist Paula Kahumbu told AFP news agency: “Something must have gone wrong, and we want to know what it is.”

The relocation of endangered animals involves sedating them for the journey and reviving them on arrival. The process is known as translocation.

The WWF conservation agency, which runs the programme with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), described the process as “extremely challenging” in a statement released to Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper.

“Black rhinos are under enormous threat, so efforts to try and better protect them, such as translocation, are crucial for future generations,” i said.

Rhinos are often moved when their populations outgrow their surroundings. In the case of critically endangered black rhinos, the moves can establish new breeding habitats to boost numbers.

Nine rhinos were killed in Kenya last year, according to KWS, and in March, the world’s last surviving male northern white rhino died after months of poor health.

Licence to kill: Animal lovers fuming over hunting permits for Cape baboons

09 July 2018 – 15:39BY CLAIRE KEETON
The killing of baboons has sparked growing outrage among residents in Cape Town.

The killing of baboons has sparked growing outrage among residents in Cape Town. 
Image: Gallo Images/Foto24/Taryn Carr

Animal lovers and rights activists are up in arms over hunting permits granting permission to shoot two baboons a day.

The permits were issued to two wine farms in Constantia in Cape Town in October 2017.

The killing of baboons – seven of them to date – has sparked growing outrage among residents in Cape Town after it was revealed by the local Constantiaberg Bulletin newspaper.

The Bulletin reported that baboons were being shot at their sleeping sites and that some had been forced to flee into residential areas‚ where they were injured‚ shot or attacked by dogs.

Distressed Capetonians have started an online petition‚ circulated on Facebook‚ to “demand the end of the horrific baboon cull in Cape Town”.

Asked about the licences to kill baboons‚ which are valid until October‚ Cape Nature Conservation communications manager Marietjie Engelbrecht said on Monday: “A condition of the permit is that each hunt is reported and registered within 24 hours in order to monitor numbers. Daily hunts are not a practical occurrence.”

Engelbrecht said they approved the hunting permits “as a last resort to mitigate human-wildlife conflict”.

“The applicants were able to prove that they have implemented multiple non-lethal mitigation measures over a number of years to try to prevent the continued damage to vineyards and infrastructure without success‚ and have experienced extensive losses‚” she said.

However‚ the secrecy around the permits was on Monday called into question by Jenni Trethowan‚ founder of the Baboon Matters Trust.

Trethowan said the Baboon Technical Team‚ which oversees baboon management on the Cape Peninsula‚ should have gone public about the shooting of baboons if all the justifications were there.

“I’m appalled at the lack of transparency‚” she said. “We heard a lot of chatter on social groups about baboons being killed but this was the first time it has been confirmed.

“Cape Nature Conservation‚ which issued the permits‚ is on the team – as well as the city of Cape Town‚ conservation authorities and researchers. They must have known about it‚” said Trethowan.

According to Engelbrecht‚ “All members of the team were present [when they discussed permits]. I can’t tell you why the information didn’t filter down.”

Buitenverwachting owner Lars Maack told the Bulletin he had applied for a hunting licence as a last resort when electric fences and paintball guns failed to keep the baboons away from their crops and dogs‚ and staff felt threatened.

Klein Constantia vineyard manager Craig Harris told the paper that they had tried monitors with paintball guns and a “virtual fence” experiment‚ which had failed to keep the baboons away.

Hout Bay resident Patrick Semple said: “I don’t understand how wealthy farmers next to a national park can justify killing animals from the national park because they are coming over to eat grapes. Surely they can make another plan?”

Birth control for Tokai baboons could be a non-lethal way to manage the growing numbers in Tokai troops‚ suggested scientist Esme Beamish from UCT’s Institute for Communities and Wildlife in Africa.

Beamish‚ who studies population dynamics on the peninsula‚ said the Tokai troops had shown the strongest growth of all managed troops‚ with their numbers increasing from 115 in one troop in 2006 to over 250 in four troops in 2017.

“The growth in the Tokai troops is a concern to baboon management. For this reason they would be the first candidates for a reproductive control programme‚” said Beamish.

“The fire and removal of pines from the area was good for baboon welfare and conservation in that it reduced some of the artificial sleeping sites and human-derived food resources [pine nuts].”

Beamish said removing specific raiding baboons‚ as practised by the City of Cape Town‚ could be more beneficial than culling baboons in general.

The broader issue of human-wildlife conflict had been triggered by baboons being “isolated to diminishing areas of natural vegetation as a result of urban-agricultural development‚” she said.

“The City of Cape Town’s baboon management programme has successfully reduced baboon-human conflict in residential areas by keeping baboons out of ‘town’ and in the natural vegetation 98% of the time.

“This is measured by reduced injury or death to baboons as a result of attacks by humans‚” said Beamish‚ adding that the programme did not extend to agricultural land‚ which fell under Cape Nature.

American hunter rips critics who bashed her for shooting giraffe and taking photos celebrating kill

American hunter rips critics who bashed her for shooting giraffe and taking photos celebrating kill
Tess Thompson Talley posted photos of herself with the giraffe she killed in 2017, but began making the rounds on social media in June. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

 

An American hunter who sparked outrage with photos that show her striking a victorious pose in front of a giraffe she killed in South Africa is hitting back at her critics.

The controversial images, initially shared by Kentucky native Tess Thompson Talley in 2017, began making the rounds on social media after the Twitter account for Africa Digest posted them online toward the end of June. The obscure news website described her as a “white American Savage who is partly neanderthal.”

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

AfricaDigest@africlandpost

White american savage who is partly a neanderthal comes to Africa and shoot down a very rare black giraffe coutrsey of South Africa stupidity. Her name is Tess Thompson Talley. Please share

Celebrities including actress Debra Messing and comedian Ricky Gervais were quick to join conservationists slamming the Kentucky hunter, but Talley has since rejected their fiery animal rights advocacy. In a statement to Fox News, she explained that she killed the old giraffe to prevent it from killing younger calves — a practice called “conservation through game management.”

“The giraffe I hunted was the South African sub-species of giraffe. The numbers of these sub-species is actually increasing due, in part, to hunters and conservation efforts paid for in large party by big game hunting,” she said. “The breed is not rare in any way other than it was very old. Giraffes get darker with age.”

While fewer than 100,000 giraffes remain on the continent, the sub-species Talley hunted has seen a 167% increase in population — up about 21,000 — since 1979. Meanwhile, the overall giraffe population has decreased by as much as 40%.

Talley also noted the giraffe, about 18 years old and unable to breed, has so far killed three younger bulls able to breed, ultimately curbing the growth of its herd.

When she first posted the photos more than a year ago, she described her South Africa trip as a “dream hunt.”

“Spotted this rare black giraffe bull and stalked him for quite a while,” she wrote. “I knew it was the one. He was over 18 years old, 4,000 lbs. and was blessed to be able to get more than 2,000 lbs. of meat from him.”

Trophy hunting is legal in several African countries, including South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

“People will say stuff behind a computer screen they’d never say to your face. She was hunting in South Africa and giraffes are legal to hunt in South Africa,” Paul Babaz, the president of hunting advocacy group Safari Club International, told CBS.

The trophy fee for a giraffe is about $2,000 to $3,000 per animal, with the funds going toward the nearby community. It helps prevent poaching and provides incentive to make sure big game animals don’t become instinct, according to Babaz.

“Without that… the poachers will come in and kill the animals indiscriminately, which is very unfortunate,” he said.

Young gorillas are working together to destroy poachers’ traps in Rwanda

Photo: Marian Golovic/Shutterstock

Young gorillas living in the Rwanda National Park have reportedly learned how to foil hunters and poachers, working together to dismantle the traps set for them. While older gorillas are usually powerful enough to free themselves, younger ones aren’t so fortunate. Traps usually work by tying a noose to a branch of bamboo stalk, and bending it to the ground, with another stick or rock holding it in place. When triggered, the noose tightens around the animal, even hoisting it into the air if the animal is light enough.

Gorillas, however, are taking a proactive approach to these traps. A research teamin Rwanda recently found groups of young gorillas actively seeking out and dismantling traps, to prevent their brethren from falling victim. The research team observed one gorilla bending and breaking the tree, while another disabled the noose, repeating the process for multiple traps. The team believes that gorillas have witnessed a correlation between these devices and the deaths of their peers, prompting their desire to neutralize them.

Chris Tyler-Smith, a geneticist at the Sanger Institute in the UK, said that “most of our genes are very similar, or even identical to, the gorilla version of the same gene.” This might help explain how gorillas are able to understand the mechanics of hunter traps, identify them in the wild, and coordinate their efforts to dismantle them. 

Namibia: 57, 000 sign petition against Elephant hunting

Namibia: 57, 000 sign petition against Elephant hunting

NAMIBIA

About 57 508 people across the world have signed a petition for the Ministry of Environment and Tourism to stop the hunting of desert elephants in Namibia.

Iris Koch from Esslingen, Germany, started the online petition on Change.org website.

She stated in the petition that Namibia’s desert elephants are iconic and highly endangered.

These animals are among the rarest creatures on this and have adapted to extremely arid desert conditions.

“These animals are among the rarest creatures on this and have adapted to extremely arid desert conditions.
Unfortunately, their extraordinary status makes them a preferred target for trophy hunters, and even though they are survival experts, desert elephants don’t stand a chance against the rifles of hunters,” she stated.

She added that they are horrified that the Ministry of Environment and Tourism has sold three more permits for the hunting of desert elephant bulls in the Ugab region.

Koch said the small population in that area is on the brink of extinction, adding that the elephants left in the Ugab area in 2016 had gone down to 30, declining drastically year by year.

“A shocking five out of five newborn calves died, three adult females were lost, while the total number of breeding bulls in the Ugab river region amounted to five,” she said.

She noted that they were under the impression that desert elephants have been designated as a top priority for protection by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

http://www.africanews.com/2017/11/30/namibia-57-000-sign-petition-against-elephant-hunting/

Cecil the Lion’s infamous death didn’t actually do much to change trophy-hunting laws

https://www.popsci.com/cecil-lion-death-trophy-hunting-law

Even beloved animals rarely hold our attention for long.

cecil the lion in 2010

The iconic Cecil in 2010.

When Cecil the Lion was slain by American dentist Walter Palmer in July 2015, the incident sparked fury around the globe. The 13-year-old lion was a popular attraction at Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, known for his striking black mane and comfort with tourist vehicles. His fate drew intense news coverage, a flurry of celebrity tweets, and an impassioned monologue from Jimmy Kimmel.

But that short spike in public attention wasn’t enough to inspire lawmakers to make widespread changes to trophy-hunting policies, a new report indicates. Researchers at Indiana University Bloomington found that people really were more concerned about lions and trophy hunting after the incident, yet the impact of that interest proved limited.

“There was this moment of extreme attention focused on lions after Cecil’s death, but it really was fleeting,” says coauthor David Konisky, an environmental policy researcher.

Individual animals—however appealing they are and however upsetting their deaths may be—don’t have a great track record for changing conservation policies, he says. Cecil may not have overhauled the rules on trophy imports, but he was still a pretty impressive poster lion.

To understand Cecil’s legacy, Konisky and his colleague Stefan Carpenter investigated internet search histories in the aftermath of his death. Right after the news broke, people around the world looked up terms related to lion conservation and trophy hunting 50 times more frequently than in the previous two years. But three weeks later, the spike in searches had already waned. In the six to 12 months following Cecil’s death, public interest was only slightly higher than in the two years before the incident.

The team also examined new laws in the United States (and the other seven countries that most often import lion trophies) in the year after Cecil’s death. They found that Cecil’s demise had only a limited impact on the adoption of new rules to restrict trophy imports. This isn’t surprising, Konisky says. “These windows of opportunity are short and often insufficient to create the impetus for policy change.” However, he says, “There were some policies that were already underway, and it may be that Cecil’s death helped push them over the finish line.”

The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution to fight the illegal wildlife trade on July 30, 2015. In November France issued a ban on lion trophy imports. Cecil’s death may have influenced this move, although it’s hard to know by how much, Carpenter said in an email.

In the United States, several bills were named after Cecil. However, only New Jerseyand Hawaii passed new laws to restrict the import, sale, or possession of animal parts that year. In December 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed one subspecies of lion as threatened and another as endangered; however, the original petition to update the big cats’ statuses had been filed in 2011.

Cecil may have made people more aware of lion trophy hunting. Still, in the United States, the average citizen does not spend much time thinking about lions, Konisky says. “Having a brief spurt of attention is not going to create long-term demand for policy change.”

There are times when a high-profile crisis can draw enough public scrutiny to spur policy changes. This happened after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the nuclear meltdown at Three Mile Island in 1979.

However, Konisky says, he’s not aware of any incidents involving a famous animal that sparked major changes to conservation laws—or even captured worldwide attention the way Cecil’s death did. “People are really concerned about air pollution and water pollution, but issues around endangered species don’t typically garner a lot of concern or interest,” he says.

For many people, though, the lion’s story was uniquely compelling. Early accounts were filled with “salacious details” of Cecil’s wounding and death, Konisky and Carpenter wrote in the journal Oryx on November 2. “People found it objectionable on many levels,” Konisky says. “It made a mark on folks.”

There are signs that people in the United States are beginning to pay more attention to big game hunting. More than 40 airlines announced in August 2015 that they would refuse to ship lion, elephant, leopard, rhinoceros, and buffalo trophies. In October 2016, the United States banned the import of trophies from captive lions. And when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided to end a ban on importing elephant trophies last month, the backlash was intense. Several days later President Trump announced the ban would stay in place for now.

So it’s possible that future hunts will create even more of an outcry. On the other hand, Cecil’s son Xanda was also killed by a game hunter this summer and received less intense news coverage. “If we had a big focusing event, I would not necessarily expect a different outcome than we saw with Cecil the Lion,” Konisky says.