Zim drops case against 'Cecil the lion' killer

HARARE - The US dentist who sparked an international outcry after killing a lion in Zimbabwe will not be prosecuted because he had obtained the legal authority to hunt, officials say.

Walter Palmer admitted to killing Cecil the lion in July but has always denied that he acted illegally.

Zimbabwe's Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri said he could not be charged as all his "papers were in order".

Mrs Muchinguri said Zimbabwe would now review how it issues hunting licences.

The environment minister had previously called for Mr Palmer to be extradited and face prosecution. However, it appears that Mr Palmer broke no laws when he killed the lion using a bow and arrow.

"We approached the police and then the Prosecutor General, and it turned out that [Walter] Palmer came to Zimbabwe because all the papers were in order," Mrs Muchinguru said.

Meanwhile the trial against Mr Palmer's Zimbabwean guide, Theo Bronkhurst, is due to continue on Thursday.

Mr Bronkhurst denies the charge of "failing to prevent an illegal hunt".

After his name was revealed by the press, Mr Palmer's dentistry practice and home were targeted by protesters. He has now returned to work after a two-month break.

The 55-year-old is believed to have paid $50,000 (£32,000) to hunt the lion in Zimbabwe's largest game reserve.

Comments (7)

Selective application of law. Surely palmer must have paid his way out. There was enough facts to bring Palmer before a magistrate. It is the work of the magistrate or judge to find palmer guilty or otherwise not the minister Muchinguri who is scared and faces imminent fall out with Grace. Is it we approached police or we overrun police and prosecutor general to absolve palmer.

X-MAN IV - 13 October 2015

This very embarrassing for a government to sink so low as to rush to make statements before examining all the facts, and then go on to retract them with egg on their faces. I said so from day 1 that statements issued by people in authority regarding the lion incidence were irresponsible and ill concieved. One hopes that this is a lesson to think first before shooting one's mouth off as they did.

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mama mather - 13 October 2015

So what is the purpose of keeping animals in a game reserve if anyone can hunt them legally?

Nono - 15 October 2015

I know i have a major case of delayed reaction but Nono, i think your comment is spot on. Game reserves are meant to enclose and protect the animal so it truly defies all logic to give permits to hunt the animals. The rightfull perpertrators that sanction this warped policy position must be show with a bow and arrow.

MadMan - 4 November 2015

Spot hunting is meant to control the animal populations within a conservation area just like the old method of culling. spot hunting tends to be more beneficial in that while we are controlling animal populations we are also earning some revenue to support further conservation efforts. Its too bad foreigners are normally participating in spot hunting because they have cash and interest. I don't think hunting is a problem but people who fail to understand the logic behind

Magora - 4 November 2015


eqf - 6 November 2015

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