01:39 GMT +315 October 2019
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    Cecil the lion is seen at Hwange National Parks in this undated handout picture received July 31, 2015

    Cecil the Lion’s Grand Cubs Expected Soon

    © REUTERS / A.J. Loveridge
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    The son of Zimbabwe’s infamous Cecil the Lion has been seen mating, and now the grand cubs of the black maned lion are expected to be born this Spring!

    Following Cecil’s barbaric death at the hands of American dentist Walter Palmer, donations to Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) who have been researching the lions in Hwange national park since 1999, have surpassed  $1.2 million from over 13,000 donors.

    On Friday, the United States placed African Lions under the protection of the Endangered Species Act, making it much more difficult for Americans to bring trophy kills home. France also banned the import of lion trophies in November.

    In October, it was announced that Palmer, who has previously been charged with poaching in the United States, will not face charges in Zimbabwe as he had obtained a permit to hunt. A local professional hunter who facilitated the hunt is still facing charges.

    Cecil, the 13-year-old park favorite was lured out of the protected area and killed in July, leading to global outrage. Conservationists are now not only thrilled that his line will carry on, but also to have proof that conservation efforts are effective.

    “Xanda was seen mating repeatedly with lionesses from the so-called Backpans pride,” Professor David Macdonald, founding director of WildCRU told the Guardian. “Pregnancy in lions lasts about 110 days, so all being well Cecil’s grand offspring should be around in March.”

    WildCRU not only studies and tracks lions, they also are involved in an anti-poaching team as well as helping local farmers protect their livestock by warning them of lions locations.

    “Lions are beautiful and their behaviour fascinating beyond imagination, and it is heartbreaking that they – most iconic of Africa’s mammals – face a perilous decline,” said Macdonald. “My huge gratitude to those who have supported us therefore extends beyond deep thanks for the money they have gifted, to the hope they have given us of a shared vision of the future, based on valuing wildlife, the environment and sustainability.”

    In October, the group estimated that lion populations are dramatically declining and will cut in half over the next two decades without major conservation efforts.


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    Cecil the Lion, WildCRU, Walter Palmer, Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
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