Cecil the Lion's Death May Result in 10 Cubs Killed: Experts - NBC New York
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Cecil the Lion's Death May Result in 10 Cubs Killed: Experts

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    Cecil the Lion's Death May Result in 10 Cubs Killed: Experts
    In this undated photo provided by the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Cecil the lion rests in Hwange National Park, in Hwange, Zimbabwe. Two Zimbabweans arrested for illegally hunting a lion appeared in court Wednesday, July 29, 2015.

    The American dentist who hunted and killed a well-known lion named Cecil in Zimbabwe may have jeopardized the livelihood of 10 cubs in the animal's family, experts told NBC News.

    "Because lions have such complicated social lives, when one male from a coalition of males is killed, that can destabilize the whole coalition," said Professor David MacDonald, whose team at Oxford University in the United Kingdom, have been tracking Cecil by GPS since 2008. 

    This cascade could lead to "the deaths of his brothers and the overthrow of his weakened coalition, and subsequently the death of his cubs," said MacDonald, who is the founding director of the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit at the university.