Story behind another killing in Hwange

Freedom Mupanedemo
Call it a place of slaughter, a place of adventure, a place for tourists who love jungle challenges or a place not for the feint-hearted.

Judging with the recent and rather sad developments within the Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe’s largest wildlife sanctuary, the above statement sums up the life in this park.

Only recently, there was outrage and furore both locally and internationally following the brutal killing of Cecil the lion and godfather of the Hwange National Park by an American fortune hunter, Walter Palmer.

The wildlife community and indeed wildlife enthusiasts were plunged into mourning following the death of this spectacular lion, famous for affording tourists a chance to take pictures at will and at unusual short distances.

And yet when tears were still to dry up from the cheeks of many, another disaster struck and this time, as if the wildlife community was revenging, a professional guide was attacked and killed by yet another lion.

The battlefield is Hwange National Park, the jungle is Hwange National Park but this time the victim was a professional guide by the name Quinn Swales.

Sad indeed! But what is more saddening is how Swales, a whole professional guide who was leading six tourists, all banking their lives on his expertise, met his fate at the hands of yet another famous lion in the Hwange National Park called Nxaha.

According to Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesperson, Caroline Washaya-Moyo, Swales was leading a group of six tourists, five of them Swedish and a French national when they came across a fresh lion spoor.

“Investigations reveal that on August 24, Quinn Swales, who was the lead guide, was on a walking safari with six foreign guests. He spotted fresh spoor and decided to track a pride of lions consisting two females, two cubs and two males,” she said.

Washaya-Moyo said Swales disembarked from their safari truck and started to track the fresh spoor, himself on the front while his tourists followed suit.


“Then Nxaha (the lion) who was in the company of her two wives, two cubs and another male lion spotted Swales and charged at him. He attacked Swales in full view of his tourist. He died as a result of the injuries,” she said.

Washaya-Moyo said the six tourists managed to dash back to their safari vehicle and drove to safety before they later called the police.

Just like Cecil, Nxaha is well known within and around Hwange National Park, this time not because of his age but due to his biological stand. He has a single and big testicle and was recently collared and is under track by wildlife experts who are keen to study his mating behaviours.

According to wildlife experts, lions in the condition of Nxaha has heightened testosterone and have a reputation of aggression.

November 2015
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