Zimbabwe searches for man who killed Cecil the lion
The US dentist who killed a lion in Zimbabwe should be extradited to face charges, Zimbabwe’s Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri has said.
Walter Palmer’s extradition was being sought so that he could “be held accountable for his illegal action,” she said.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service was contacted by a representative of Palmer on Thursday.
The contact comes as US authorities continue to investigate the hunt.
Palmer, from Minnesota, is believed to have paid about $50,000 to hunt the lion, known as Cecil.
He says he thought the hunt was legal and was unaware Cecil was protected.
At a news conference in the capital, Harare, Ms Muchinguri referred to Palmer as a “foreign poacher”.
“As we frantically try to protect our wildlife from organised gangs such as this one, there are people… who can connive to undermine Zimbabwean laws,” she said.
“One can conclude with confidence that Dr Palmer, being an American citizen, had a well-orchestrated agenda which would tarnish the image of Zimbabwe and further strain the relationship between Zimbabwe and the USA,” Ms Muchinguri added.
She also said Palmer’s use of a bow and arrow against Cecil was in contravention of Zimbabwean hunting regulations, Reuters reports.
Two Zimbabwean men have been implicated in the death of the lion.
A professional hunter has been charged with failing to prevent an illegal hunt – which he denies – and prosecutors are deciding on the exact charges the landowner should face.
“I don’t believe I failed in any duties at all, I was engaged by a client to do a hunt for him and we shot an old male lion that I believed was past his breeding age,” the Zimbabwean hunter Theo Bronkhorst told the AFP news agency.
Source: BBC News
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