Animal lovers have expressed their outrage around the world after a famous endangered lion was shot dead with two others fighting for their lives after being targeted by a disgruntled farmer.
Harry, a desert lion died of a bullet wound to the chest .The majestic lion was one of the “Five Musketeers”, a group of brothers who are well-known for roaming the harsh, remote areas of northwestern Namibia.
Two others in the group, Adolf and Ben, were wounded as well, with a bullet appearing to have passed through Ben’s stomach.
The group was made famous through a 2015 documentary called Vanishing Kings.
Able to survive much longer without water than other breeds of lion, the thick coated desert lions are an endangered species.
There were only 150 desert lions left last year. But with a serious lack of available prey, the lions are hot targets for farmers who hunt and poison them for killing their cattle and other livestock.
A statement on the Desert Lion Conservation website said: “A king has vanished. “His loss is a tragedy and the harsh reality of lions and people living side by side.
“Finding the carcass of Harry inside the Salvadora thickets was challenging and required crawling for approximately 30 metres through the thick undergrowth.”An autopsy was performed on the carcass and biological samples were collected. “The lion died quickly from a single gunshot to the chest. The bullet passed through the heart and lungs.”
Social media users took to the web to describe the outrage they feel at the killing of Harry.
Facebook group, Namibian Lions Killed in Human Wildlife conflict, said: “Maybe now is a good time to accept that properly orchestrated human wildlife management is direly needed.”
Desert Lion Conservation, which aims to limit conflicts between the local community and the desert lions, blamed the incident on “human-lion conflict” after the lions moved past a cattle post 12km from the village of Tomakas.
The group said it is a “tense situation” on the ground, with conservationists and local safari operators in the process of trying to help farmers to exist alongside the lions.
Dr Pieter Kat of LionAid said: “The shooting of these lions points out a substantial flaw in Namibia’s theory that lion trophy hunting and the fees derived thereof, are supposed to reduce incidents where farmers shoot lions due to their ‘alleged value’ to the communities.
“The US Congress recently published a report indicating that trophy fees are not properly compensating the communities, for their livestock losses.
“LionAid urges Namibia to urgently review their Lion conservation strategy and recognise that their current policies, based on a Trophy hunting model, are leading to the further decimation of the already highly threatened ‘desert lions’.