Local authorities in Zimbabwe called for the extradition of Walter Palmer, a Minnesota dentist and trophy hunter who is believed to have paid at least USD50,000 to a local guide to kill Cecil the lion.
Cecil the lion was a major tourist attraction at Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park and was loved by many for his unique black mane. His killing sparked global anger despite the dentist’s many attempts at apologising for his action, claiming he was misled by the local guide. Walter has since gone into hiding.
In his messages, Palmer has repeatedly apologised for the outrage his action has caused. However, he maintains that he and his local did everything above. Although no authorities in Zimbabwe or the United States had contacted him (yet), Palmer denied any wrongdoing and has promised to cooperate should he be contacted.
“I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion,” Palmer said.
Local guides Theo Bronchorst, a professional hunter, and Honest Trymore Ndlovu, a land owner were earlier arrested and released on bail. They are expected to face poaching charges for their role in the killing of Cecil the lion a statement from the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe said. Palmer claims his was misled by Theo Bronkhorst into killing Cecil who at the time had a tracking collar as part of an Oxford University research project.
“We are appealing to the responsible authorities for (Palmer’s) extradition to Zimbabwe so that he can be made accountable for his illegal actions,” environment minister Oppah Muchinguri told reporters in Harare.
Zimbabwean authorities are already revising hunting regulations following this incidence.