The killing of the iconic lion 'Cecil' in Zimbabwe last week sparked global outrage. But as Hayley Platt reports, it has also exposed the financial difficulties facing Zimbabwe's wildlife conservation authority.
They're not as famous as Cecil the lion but the fact that Zimbabwe is rich in wildlife and poor in many other ways is a problem. While the rest of the world expresses outrage over the death of the celebrated king of the jungle in an illegal hunt, many in Africa are worried. Legal trophy hunting generated $45 million last year in Zimbabwe - and some of that money is used for wildlife conservation. Kelly Marnewick is manager of an Endangered Wildlife Trust in South Africa. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ENDANGERED WILDLIFE TRUST MANAGER, KELLY MARNEWICK SAYING: "By imposing complete bans I think we leave conservation in a very, very precarious situation, because you are removing sources of income from some areas where they are unreplaceable and if we cannot fund our conservation work unfortunately we cannot have conservation." Mark Hassel has been farming wildlife in Zimbabwe since the late 1980s. He makes $250,000 a year from safaris and hunting expeditions. And he employs 20 people. A complete ban on big game hunting is likely to hurt. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MARK HASSEL, WILDLIFE FARMER SAYING: "When things go wrong, things need to be corrected but surely there are some negative impacts on the suspension. You know we have currently hunts going on so we have to re-regularize and realign the current hunts to the new conditions." Zimbabwe used to allow the killing of 50 - 70 lions every year. That's from an estimated population of 2000 on private and government-run game reserves. Cecil's death has given a country still recovering from a billion-percent hyperinflation a decade ago - another financial headache.