Who would have guessed? Well, actually, hunters. They already knew this.

CNN – Let’s be clear: Cecil was killed illegally, which we don’t condone. The landowner who allowed the hunt on his reserve without the necessary permit should face the justice system. But this one bad apple should not tarnish an entire industry.

Legally hunting lions in Zimbabwe is highly regulated: it requires various permits and licenses from the client, professional hunter and hunting reserve owner. National quotas aim to ensure sustainable off-take of the species and, in western Zimbabwe, lions are only killed once they have reached a certain age to make sure they’ve had the chance to pass their genes on. As a result, lion populations in Zimbabwe are either stable or increasing.

Zimbabwe has a tradition of using trophy hunting to promote wildlife conservation. Through the CAMPFIRE program, which ran from 1989 to 2001, more than $20m was given to participating communities, 89% of which came from sports hunting. In more recent times, populations of elephants and other large herbivores have been shown to benefit from trophy hunting.

Read more: CNN