Cecil’s death could have larger ecological impact

U.S. considering extradition petition

FILE - In this image taken from a November 2012 video made available by Paula French, a well-known, protected lion known as Cecil strolls around in Hwange National Park, in Hwange, Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe's wildlife minister says extradition is being sought for Walter Palmer, the American dentist who killed a Cecil. (Paula French via AP)

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – International outrage continues after a famous lion was illegally killed by an American tourist in Africa.

Authorities in Zimbabwe have suspended the hunting of lions, leopards, and elephants, after Cecil the lion was killed. Cecil was allegedly lured out of a national park and killed by Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer. His guides were arrested and Zimbabwe wants Palmer extradited.

For wildlife experts and educators, it’s upsetting to hear that one animal’s life could be taken in disregard, but the long term impact can be worse.

Benjamin Stafford from the Forest Park Zoo in Springfield told 22News, “Without Cecil there to protect his pride, all of his young could be killed by other wild lions. No one is there to protect them from poachers or hunters as well. So one animal being killed will cause the deaths of many others, potentially so it’s a big, exponential problem.”

Stafford said he hopes Cecil’s death can bring awareness to people about the negative effects of illegal hunting.

The Obama Administration is reviewing a public petition to extradite Palmer.

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