“All his papers were in order.” Zimbabwe has announced that it will not be charging American dentist Walter Palmer in the illegal killing of #CecilTheLion. The hunt’s guide, though, is being prosecuted.
Palmer was the subject of social media outrage in July when he shot and wounded a famous lion just outside Hwange National Park. It soon emerged that the lion had been lured out of the park illegally. While Palmer admitted to killing the animal, he maintained that he believed the hunt to be legal.
“I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion,” Palmer stated in July.
The Minnesota dentist faced months of outrage when news of the killing went viral, prompting animal lovers to vandalise his home and business and even threaten his family.
Zimbabwe’s environment minister Oppah Muchinguri capitalised on the publicity to call for Palmer’s extradition and initiated an investigation into the hunt. “We approached the police and then the Prosecutor General, and it turned out that Palmer came to Zimbabwe because all the papers were in order,” Muchinguri stated this morning. The country will pursue not further action against the dentist, but says it is going to review the way it issues hunting permits for lions and other big game.
Meanwhile, the trial against Theo Bronkhurst, a Zimbabwean citizen and Palmer’s guide for the hunt is set to continue Thursday. Bronhurst faces charges of “failing to prevent an illegal hunt.”
Palmer has yet to respond publicly to the news.