Cecil the lion: US govt mum on Zim's request

HARARE - The United States government has backed away from giving any more public comments on the administration’s handling of Zimbabwe’s extradition request for the American dentist who shot a prized big cat, Cecil.

In a carefully-worded statement, US embassy spokesperson Karen Kelley told the Daily News that due to privacy regulations, the Harare embassy cannot speak on the extradition of Palmer.

“We are aware of the reports that a US citizen was involved in the death of Cecil the Lion,” Kelly said.

“For inquiries regarding any law enforcement aspects of the case, we refer you to the Government of Zimbabwe or the Department of Justice.”

The US Department of Justice was yet to respond to questions from the Daily News whether Palmer would be extradited or not.

Kelly said she was not prepared to give additional detail on the extradition of the dentist over the killing of 13-year-old Cecil — a major tourist drawcard at Hwange National Park.

“As a matter of policy, we do not comment on extradition requests,” she clarified.

US State Department spokesperson Mark Toner also declined to discuss Zimbabwe’s request.

“I can more broadly talk about extradition and how that process works, if it’s helpful,” Toner told Voice of America (VOA).

“They are received by the Department of State through diplomatic channels, and State works closely with the Department of Justice to determine whether an incoming extradition request meets the requirements of the applicable treaty.

“The Department of Justice then presents the request to a US court that determines whether the individual is extraditable. After those judicial proceedings have been completed, it’s the secretary of state who makes the final decision on whether to extradite an individual to another country.

“And, obviously, humanitarian concerns and the ability of an individual to receive a fair trial may be considered at this stage of the process.”

Zimbabwe has demanded the extradition of Walter Palmer and hopes the United States will cooperate, said Environment minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, on Friday.

Palmer “had a well-orchestrated agenda which would tarnish the image of Zimbabwe and further strain the relationship between Zimbabwe and the US,” Muchinguri-Kashiri said.

Palmer, his professional hunter guide, and the owner of the land where the hunt took place are accused of an illegal hunt under Zimbabwe’s Parks and Wildlife Act, Muchinguri-Kashiri said in a statement.

Palmer is accused of financing an illegal hunt, he and the professional hunter are also accused of illegally using a crossbow “to conceal the illegal hunt” so they would not alert rangers on patrol, she said.

The landowner allegedly allowed the hunt to be conducted without a lion quota and without the necessary permit, Muchinguri-Kashiri said.

“The professional hunter, client and land owner were therefore all engaged in poaching of the lion,” she said.

“This must be condemned in the strongest possible terms by all genuine, animal-loving conservationists who believe in sustainable utilisation of natural resources,” she added.

Palmer shot Cecil with a bow and arrow after luring him out of Hwange National Park into the Gwai Conservancy using a carcass. Cecil, recognised by the black streaks in his mane, suffered a slow death after being shot by a gun.

Professional hunter Theo Bronkhorst of Bushman Safaris and Honest Ndlovu owner of Antoinette Farm, the land on which Cecil was shot, were released on bail by magistrate Lindiwe Maphosa.

Palmer, from Minnesota, has said he relied on the expertise of local guides “to ensure a legal hunt”.

“I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favourite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt,” Palmer said in a statement last week.

He allegedly paid $50 000 in early July to hunt the lion.

Following the request to have Palmer extradited, the Zimbabwe government immediately suspended all hunting of lions, leopards and elephants in areas outside of Hwange National Park, while all hunters in the field were directed to withdraw.

Chairperson of the Gwai Valley Farmers Association Mark Russell said the association has distanced itself from the killing, demanding justice to prevail.

Russell said Cecil’s killing was an act of poaching as it was not conducted with a lion hunting permit and was not authorised by the farmers’ association.

“Every lion hunt in the Gwai Valley area is authorised by the Executive Committee of the Association,” Russell said.

“Regrettably, this hunt in particular, was never authorised by us, nor did we know about it. This illegal hunt came as a shocker to us, as we did not even issue lion permits for 2015.”

Meanwhile in Washington, US Senator Robert Menendez has introduced legislation called Conserving Ecosystems by Ceasing the Importation of Large, Animal Trophies Act. It would expand import bans to species proposed for listing as threatened or endangered, as well as those already considered endangered, according to VOA.

Comments (27)

This Palmer ( a poacher said to be a hunter ) must be extradited to Zimbabwe for trial. He caused untold suffering to our lion. I would have not minded at all had he poached on Cecil John Rhodes himself and taken him to the USA as a trophy. Failing that he could have requested our local sculptors to make him a Cecil the lion (for almost nothing) to take home. I would be rejoicing today that the name Cecil is gone, and gone for good.

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda. - 5 August 2015

Forget the present regime in the USA wont extradite one of their own to Zimbabwe

Colonel - 5 August 2015

what so special about a lion which was killing and eating donkeys and cattle for villagers . Did anyone ever cry foul of the destructive lion .Mushee toko now villagers can breath a fresh breath their domestic animals can go about their grazing business without fear of Cecil the lion .

Diibulaanyika - 5 August 2015

People should not jump to conclusions and assume that the hunting was not authorised. We need to hear the facts in a court of law b4 the US can determine whether or not Dr Walter Palmer poached the lion or not. The US respects its laws and therefore cannot just extradite its citizen without a legally sound reason. Besides is there an extradition treaty between Zimbabwe and USA?

Tembo - 5 August 2015

@ Dibulaanyika. Nowhere had I ever heard that this lion was a threat to people or their livestock. I heard it first from you. Usually if there is a lion that becomes a threat to people the news spread fast (like in the case of Maswerasei) and Parks and Wildlife personnel hunt it down. You can not hate our lion because it was given the name Cecil. I think if the lion could talk it would have rebelled to be called Cecil. You have to make a distinction between our lion and the name Cecil given to it. Our lion is completely innocent and I expect all Zimbabweans who love our wildlive to express remorse at the way it was killed. These creatures are our natural heritage and we are obliged to look after them for posterity. Instead you should point it out that whoever gave him the name Cecil was actually cursing him. This is where the problem is.

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda - 5 August 2015

@Tembo. Every newspaper or newswebsite that has reported this story is consistent in saying the lion was lured out of its sanctuary ( using a dead animal as a bait) to Mr Ndlovu`s farm then short with an ox-bow. For 40 hours it suffered excruating pain only to be located then finished with a rifle. What facts are you waiting for to conclude that the lion was poached ? Ofcourse Bronkorst authorised Palmer to shoot it but that does not absolve him from the criminal act of poaching. If ever they are other people above him who gave the authorization they are not absolved either.This is how I see it. The flip-side. If it is a legal and standard procedure to lure animals from santuary for the purpose of shooting them then they shot a "wrong" lion. It could be the case since this one was tagged for a particular purpose and therefore "sacred" to Oxford. I have no knowledge how our Ministry responsible for our wildlife dispose or allocate our precious game to hunters but whatever the case this story shows how mucky the procedure is. Properly investigated we are likely to unearth more unsavoury deeds by those in this department.

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda - 5 August 2015

@Masamba Its a shame that you are talking about the stories of MWASWERA SEI which happened some 30 years ago in Kariba shows you are badly shaped info wise ,Who told you that the lion was friendly? did you talk to the villagers. Go to villagers who are close to the Hwange national park and have first hand information about how their livestocks are eaten day in day out by lions and hyenas . Just by Mondi in the out skirts of Vic falls a woman and her children was eaten and finished by lions who cried foul .? Make your research and get first hand info lions are killing stocks in Hwange whether its Cecil or not what people here know is lion are not good to them and have benefited nothing from these animals .If you are basing your info on media reports then you will be confused more . Go to Hwange ask anybody about this big cat no one knows it ,More so this lion is not more important than Itai Dzamara i would prefer the lion to be killed than a human .Lions have be killed before and will be always killed nothing special at all .

Diibulaanyika - 5 August 2015

@Diibulaanyika. Before you run wild about cases of rogue lions which kill people and livestocks I would like to remind you that my argument is on this particular one they named Cecil. Nobody even Bronkhorst the poacher who stand accused has indicated it has turned rogue and was a threat to people or livestock. Instead it was hunted (lured out of its santuary) and shot. When rogue (and therefore dangerous) lions are killed there is no reason for authorities moreso the killer to shy away from publicly saying so. Instead what I heard from Bronkorst himself is that he has good lawyers to set him free. You do not even need a lawyer to set you free if you kill a known marauding lion dangerous to people. If there is such a lion then I expect first and foremost the minister to be duly informed. Instead what I heard from the minister herself was that she expects the trio to be tried for killing Cecil. Its upon these facts that my argument is based. Concerning other lions and hyenas you are reffering to my question is what happened to the fence that is supposed to keep them away from people-inhabited areas ? Before you celebrate at the killing of our lions I suppose it makes sense to apportion blame to the relevant department for the breach in the rules of keeping animals in the game park.

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda - 6 August 2015

@Masamba clearly and wrongly so you are basing everything on hearsay from the wrong people .All those people you are mentioning here are not villagers who have lost their domestic to lion in Hwange . Your source of info is always confined to his suffari lodge and does not care if domestic animals are eaten by lions and to them any lion which which kills live stocks belonging to locals is is viewed as a hero . What authorities you are talkng about which can control marauding wild animals ? Many times people have reported dangerous lions but got no help maybe at your area you still have authorities who can listen to you Please remember this lion was pure wild never mind about the tracking device which it had for research purposes it remained lion and wild like any lion in Moremi game reserve, Serengeti or Kruger national park.I challenge you to get info from the other side of the story the villagers and you can make your decision . I am not basing my info on news papers no but on the natives who stay here simply as that .

Diibulaanyika - 6 August 2015

@ Dlibulaanyika, whole am getting your points of argument, I can not follow through your line of thinking; believe me I have tried. why I can't follow through is for the simple reason that, not withstanding the danger that the wild animals pose to humanity and his livestock, if we all think the way you are thinking, we will eventually lose all wild cats and dogs. And God knows what that would mean to the ecosystem and it's consequences. Truly speaking, killing those animals is not the solution whatever reason we have. It's shooting ourselves on the toes. I understand that authorities have not heard you but killing them is not a solution, those animals don't belong to authorities but to us all. This is tantamount to throwing to "burning down the whole house because a snake has entered into it"

Livison - 6 August 2015

Mhondoro inonzi Cecil yazonyanyisa kunetsa kwacho! Hatina dzimwe nhau ere dzingada outcry svinu; sekuti wanhu wodzingwa mabasa ketwuhanda twapinda mumba. Chinokosha chii wanhu kana kuti shumba. Nzou dzakaita murakatira gore riya ne cyanide hapana kwazvakasvika wani.

SaManyika Chaiye - 6 August 2015

@Diibulaanyika. Hello fellow Zimbabwean. Your response to Livison`s reaction to your post makes your point of view very clear. Why didn`t you say so from the very beginning ? Yes I do share your concern that locals do not benefit from proceeds reaped from game business. I think you will also agree with me if I say close to every Zimbabwean (apart from the few dirty dozen who selfishly benefit) agree with you totally. Your frustration with those who mismanage, launder and loot proceeds from our game at the detriment of local indigenous people is justfiabled. Having said that this does not in any way detract from the atrocious way Cecil was murdered. If you mix issues you run the risk of flashing down the drain the baby with bath water. Do not forget animals are not human beings: they know no Zanu-PF politics. Moreover, the fact that we as human beings can kill them or displace them from their natural habitats is in no way a legal natural law. They have the same rights to live just like us. Finally I liked the way you brought in the issue of us making other human beings disappear thereby causing unbearable pains to the kids and relatives. Its tantamount to shooting yourself in the chest vis-a-vis the argument of killing Cecil. We are supposed to be smart because we think - and animals don`t. If this is not the case you cannot blame animals. One small observation: in Zimbabwe the law of the jungle is not yet obsolete. Instead it has been masked and given names to deceive the outside world.

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda - 6 August 2015

@ SaManyika Chaiye. VaSaManyika chaivo musakangamwa kuti mhuka hadzivhoti kusarudza avo vanotungamira nyika. Vanhu chete ndivo vanovhota. Kana mukaita mistake yokuvhotera mbavha nemakororo kuti ashandire nyika akatadza nokushaya pfungwa kwawo haisimhosva yemhuka. If Zimbabweans as a people knew what they deserve they would not tolerate being subjected to unbearable hardships as if their country is poor. There is more than enough money and wealth in Zimbabwe to cater for every one.Our population is not that much compared to the riches we have as a nation. You know very well these riches are mismanaged and misappropriated to save a certain clique. In the same way you are bored reading our posts on animals I am personally put off reading about people crying about their suffering yet doing nothing to change it for the better. Mazwokuda mavanga enyoka. I still remember in the late 90s Tsvangirai called for a stay away in protest against Zanu-PF pillaging the country but to my greatest surprise thousands of workers did not heed his call. Nothing good comes on a silver plate. You cannot wait for a foregn messiah to deliver you from the chains of oppressers who defaulted on their promises to serve you. Otherwise I am saying Samanyika rovai Finance yenyu makanyarara kana muinayo i.e.

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda - 6 August 2015

Can somebody quantify Cecils contribution to ZIm and particularly the locals? We lost man to negligent police, doctors and of course political thugs, but not so much crying & publicity. WHY?

EL-DODO - 6 August 2015

You see this is taboo in Tonga malweza mashura ,imihlolo to morn the death of an animal . In africa we do not morn the death of wild animals it is alien to us .People like Masamba are enjoying profits from wild animals while some of us with homes near national parks never benefit a cent and that is very sad . If we were careless we could have killed all these animals . Now we hear those who have never seen a live or dead lion lecturing us about lions which eat our domestic animals daily hey !! come on this is malweza / shura mihlola and really funeral is come .

Diibulaanyika - 6 August 2015

@Diibulaanyika. "In africa we do not morn the death of wild animals it is alien to us ." The message you are putting across is Africans have no conscience when it comes to the suffering of animals. May you please spare me and many other Africans from painting everyone with that dirty brush of yours. You are a liar ! Donot misconstrue most Africans`lack of the means (poverty) to look after animals properly to mean they do not feel remorse at the death of animals. Your view is skewed and dangerous to the progress of Africa at large. "People like Masamba are enjoying profits from wild animals ... " For all along I was of the thinking that you can read and understand my point of view. Alas , I am disappointed ! You can not understand a simple written narrative. Please read again,this time slowly,my last response to yopur post. Kana ukadziwanzisa mbanje dzinopedzisira dzavakukutenderedza musoro. Ndinozwiziva kuti in that region where you come from people are at liberty to smoke ganja pamadiro.

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda - 6 August 2015

What a coincidence,the farm owner's son is called Cecil and Cecil the lion was killed in his farm. Again every bigwig in Zimbabwe has his whiteman. Down with white pigs,but they are working hand in hand with them. Land barons are on the way.

Chitototo Chipashumaranga - 6 August 2015

@Chitototo Chipashumaranga. I like your name. Kuri kwedu kuMberengwa tinokuti Chimhashumaranga.

Masamba Akareyo- Tanganda - 6 August 2015

From the way you are talking Masamba I have no doubt that you just finished feasting on a gundwane and you are washing down that by drinking sikokiyana that is why you are hallucinating infront of everybody .You must be Muthakathi to morn for a dead lion bcoz you were using it for your travells and ku loya swine . What do you know about animals Do you think a lion is a mbeva or gonzo which you people enjoy very much that side .The whole day you have been talikng boring nonsense about lions as if you own one and know how to rear lions Any true african will tell you that if you own a lion or baboon you are regarded as Mulozi Muthakathi if you do not know that ask your grand father .

Diibulaanyika - 6 August 2015

In our area we have wild animals in our bushes roaming about We never ate them all as you did from you region . in your area you can not even see a gundwane one has to dig to find gundwane as they hid from being eaten and then you want to lie telling us that you are an animal champion which you have never seen. know about .You are full of mawala

Diibulaanyika - 6 August 2015

I am afraid to say this to you: whoever is close (in the vicinity) to you right away should prepare ropes and chains to restrict you. You are about to go mad. My advice to you is please calm down. Do not take it too much personal when you see people in you locality being marginalised by unscruplous people who rob the region of the resources which rightly belong to them. By the way it happens in virtually every part of Zimbabwe including my region in Mberengwa. If you are a simple citizen like me who is concerned about the unfair treatment of the locals you have to find a clever way to negotiate around the rock (Zanu-PF) to achieve a positive result for the locals. Ofcourse you can do it without throwing to the dogs your principles. I am sorry if you were hurt that I said in my previous post that it sounds you have one too many of those cigars. Lastly about us eating amagundwane. Who told you eating beef is the coolest thing on earth a man can do ? Next time when you happen to have a little bit of money please leave Zimbabwe and embark on a journey arounds the globe to find out what people eat. I bet you will be shocked to death.

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda - 6 August 2015

You are so happy understandably so rats are fat these days and you are enjoying your meal but i have no doubt that you also smoke shiit judging by the way you are hallucinating here blood fool . UKUSI MAZYUU dammaty Ya kapengelee ooko kulusaka .Hamba uyo hlangela le ezi fuleni hayi phambili kompakathi haa!!!I If Shonas call it mbanje it means they know it and also smoke it . You are one of the old fashioned people who still associate Tonga people with mbanje you are very ignorant and foolish .

Diibulaanyika - 7 August 2015

gentle at the end of the day you are all right in one or the other ,i for one love wild animals regardless of what they do at times to domestic animals,a fact we both all cant dispute is that we need them for national developmentment which i dont need to mention because i know we all know,its unfortunate that a popular lion was taken out which leaves many questions to asnwered,one thing i know is palmer is not going to be extradited to zim to have his day in court most because of the relationship us and zim governments have,nat geo wild wont be the same

Dube1 - 7 August 2015

ok so much for the lion we ave plenty of these in zimbabwe. Now how do we get the economy going. oh by the way who got the 50000 paid for the hunt. am sure the answer is quite interesting

chihwa - 7 August 2015

Guys guys guys! enough of this animal.. it did not benefit the common persons around the area.. lets discuss bread and butter issues not this useless animal, there is famine, poverty and disease to name a few and u discuss a lion....do we eat it? If human can die, what about this animal? In these hard times I have no bread for dogs, only for my kids....lion my foot. In fact kill them all and serve the citizens. I have spoken.

Juliet - 7 August 2015

kk lo yah, Diibulaanyika zvinenge zvinotaridza kuti wakakura uchishuvira zvekuzongo tsvaga attention. kana zvaunonyora handicahatombo verenga ini everyday.

ndioneiwo - 7 August 2015

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