But in the evening of July 1, 2015, Palmer took aim and let an arrow fly. Initially, Bronkhorst claimed that the arrow missed, but it now seems certain that this was a lie. Wounded by this shot, Cecil spent the next few hours slowly and painfully making his way through the bush. In eight hours, he travelled only 160 meters (525 feet). One report says that in the darkness they could “hear [the lion] struggling to breathe].”
Thinking that the lion would die on its own, Palmer and Bronkhorst returned to their camp. Setting out in the morning once more, they managed to catch up with Cecil (not difficult considering he had moved a total of 350 meters/1,250 feet) and finished him off. It was at this point the pair removed the collar from the lion, and then moved the carcass to another tract of land where hunting was legal.
The sad final moments of Cecil, however, have at least helped to raise awareness of the uncertain future faced by the big cats in Africa.