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Popular wild lion shot dead in Zimbabwe

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The lion named Cecil was more than 10 years old. He was found shot dead earlier this month near Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park

A male lion that had long been a beloved figure in a national park in Zimbabwe has been shot and killed by an American game hunter.

The lion named Cecil was more than 10 years old.
He was found shot dead earlier this month near Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park.

Local conservationists say an American man on a safari tour violated a ban on hunting wild animals in a national park.

The man reportedly paid a local hunter about 50,000 dollars to help him lure the lion out of the park using bait. He then killed the animal with a crossbow and rifle.

Cecil's black mane and majestic appearance made him popular among local residents and tourists.
He was also the subject of a university study.

Observers say the incident could heighten criticism of sports hunting by enthusiasts who pay huge amounts of money to kill African wildlife, and take home parts of their bodies such as hides as trophies.