Sunday 19 November 2017

Zimbabwe court drops Cecil the Lion hunter charge

Cecil the lion was killed in 2015. Photo: AP
Cecil the lion was killed in 2015. Photo: AP

Zane Smith

A Zimbabwean court has thrown out charges against a local hunter accused of failing to stop the killing of the country's most prized lion by an American dentist.

Walter Palmer, a lifelong big-game hunter from Minnesota, sparked a global controversy when he killed Cecil, a rare black-maned lion, with a bow and arrow outside Hwange National Park in western Zimbabwe in July last year.

While Zimbabwean authorities said Mr Palmer had legal authority to hunt, they were stung by the international outcry and charged local hunter Theo Bronkhorst, who assisted Mr Palmer, with failing to prevent an unlawful hunt.

Mr Bronkhorst's lawyers then applied to the High Court in Zimbabwe arguing it could not have been an offence under the country's wildlife laws if Mr Palmer had a permit to hunt and the charge was quashed in Bulawayo.

Irish Independent

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