Lady Liuwa, the lonely lioness who spent more than a decade as the last of her kind in Zimbabwe’s Liuwa Plain National Park, has died of natural causes on the eve of World Lion Day. A survivor of poaching and illegal trophy hunting, Lady Liuwa wandered the park by herself from the late 1990s until 2010, when the first of several companions were successfully transported to Liuwa. Alas, the story since then remained full of near-constant tragedies, but also some hope. Lady Liuwa never bred, but her impact continues with efforts to restore the once-ravaged park. African Parks has the history and a tribute to this resilient big cat.
Two years after the infamous shooting of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe, one of his sons has also been shot and killed. Xanda, a six-year-old father with his own cubs, wandered outside of protected Hwange National Park earlier this month and was legally shot by a trophy hunter. Like Cecil before him, Xanda carried a radio collar as part of a long-term scientific research effort. Conservationists now fear that Xanda’s seven cubs could die as other males vie to take over for the late pride leader.