Cecil the lion death: US investigates Walter Palmer hunt

via Cecil the lion death: US investigates Walter Palmer hunt – NewsDay Zimbabwe July 31, 2015

US officials have launched an investigation into the killing of a lion in Zimbabwe but say they have been unable to reach the American involved.

BBC Online

The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) said it was “deeply concerned” about the “tragic” death of Cecil the lion.
Director Dan Ashe said they will “go where facts lead” but efforts to reach Walter Palmer have been unsuccessful.

Mr Palmer says he thought the hunt was legal but two Zimbabwean men have been arrested over the popular lion’s death.

The dental practice he runs in Minneapolis has been closed since he was named as the tourist who shot Cecil, Zimbabwe’s most famous lion.

Protesters gathered outside the building on Wednesday, carrying placards saying “Justice for Cecil”, “Trophy hunters are cowards” and “Prosecute poachers”.

On Thursday, the White House said it would review a public petition to extradite the American dentist after more than 100,000 signed it.

But spokesman Josh Earnest said it was up to the US justice department to respond to any extradition order.

Earlier, the FWS said: “We are currently gathering facts about the issue and will assist Zimbabwe officials in whatever manner requested.”

“At this point in time, however, multiple efforts to contact Dr Walter Palmer have been unsuccessful,” it said, saying Mr Palmer or his representative should contact them immediately.

“It is up to all of us – not just the people of Africa – to ensure that healthy, wild populations of animals continue to roam the savannah for generations to come,” the statement said.

The whereabouts of Mr Palmer is currently unknown, but he is thought to have returned to the US after Cecil was killed on 1 July.

‘Life-long hunter’
In a letter to his patients, the dentist said he would assist authorities in Zimbabwe or the US in their inquiries and apologised for the disruption to the clinic.

The American tourist is believed to have paid about $50,000 (£32,000) to go on the hunt in Zimbabwe.

Prosecutors in Zimbabwe have charged the hunter who supervised Mr Palmer’s outing, Theo Bronkhorst, for killing a lion not authorised to be hunted. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.
The country’s safari organisation also said the way in which Cecil was lured out of a national park was unethical and possibly illegal.

A second suspect, farm owner Honest Ndlovu, was also arrested but is yet to be charged.

An international hunting organisation suspended the memberships of both Mr Palmer and Mr Bronkhorst on Thursday, saying it wanted a “full and thorough investigation” into the lion’s death.

Safari Club International, which promotes big-game hunting worldwide, said “those who intentionally take wildlife illegally should be prosecuted and punished to the maximum extent allowed by law”.

Cecil, who was a major tourist attraction at Zimbabwe’s largest game reserve in Hwange National Park, was being monitored by UK-based Oxford University as part of a conservation programme.
The animal is believed to have died on 1 July, but the carcass was not discovered until a few days later. It had been skinned and beheaded.

Cecil’s killing has attracted little media attention inside Africa. What little comment there was came in the form of derisive editorials in Zimbabwean state media.

“Not since Simba, of The Lion King fame, has a lion captured the world’s imagination in this way,” Alex Magaisa wrote in the Zimbabwean Herald newspaper. While tragic, the lion’s death has not inflamed local passions because it is “far removed from the lived realities of most of the local people,” he added, saying that tourism and hunting in Zimbabwe are “mired in elitism”.

The writer said neither he nor his family had heard of Cecil the lion before it was killed.

Kennedy Mavhumashava struck a similar note in the Zimbabwe Chronicle and invoked the history of Western colonialism: “Many believe the lion was named after Cecil John Rhodes, the celebrated forerunner of British colonialism in Southern Africa, explaining the saturation coverage on the demise of his namesake.”


  • comment-avatar

    This is the most ridiculous and rubbish I have ever heard! It has been blown totally out of proportion. It is being used by the green people to try prove a point.
    This “famous Cecil” only became famous because he got shot! 99.9999% of Zimbabweans know nothing about this lion. “Cecil the lion” was out of the park and hunted on “PRIVATE LAND” by the authority of the land owner, and the only thing they can charge the hunter for is transfer of quota tag. I have heard that up to half the lion taken by hunters in Zim are collared with no problem,but one that is collared by Oxford students get shot and it is now an international incident and the hunter, client and landowner have to be crucified. Same callous fools who hailed the death of PH Ian Gibson as a victory for wildlife.

  • comment-avatar
    Chidumbu 7 years ago

    Where are all these r soles when the game is being decimated by poachers with wire snares, death by wire snare is a slow painful death, typical bigoted Americans with f-all better to do than find the next little thing to make a mountain out of a mole hill, and reading all the reports he paid for it so he didn’t shoot it for free, last time I look poachers don’t pay to kill the game

  • comment-avatar
    ntaba 7 years ago

    Seeing as we are talking about Matabeleland – perhaps we could ask the USA to extend their investigations into some other deaths in this Province. It is well documented that the Fifth Brigade of the Zimbabwe National Army killed about 20 000 people – not lions – in the Gukuruhundi in the early 80’s. In case the CIA or the FBI are not up to speed – there was a man called Perence Shiri in charge of this Brigade whom was acting under the instructions of a man named Robert Gabriel Mugabe. Mr. Shiri is allegedly the commander of the Air Force in the country and Mr. Mugabe still allegedly the Commander of Chief of all Armed Forces.
    The CIA and the FBI could possibly start at State House – if the murder of 20 000 civilians is of any concern to them in the context of the shooting of this lion.