Monday, March 20, 2023

Zimbabwe Calls for Cecil The Lion’s Killer to be Extradited

In Harare’s first official comments since Cecil the lion’s death captured world headlines this week, Zimbabwean Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri said on Friday that the American dentist who hunted the well-known lion should be extradited to Zimbabwe to face justice. She added that the Prosecutor General had already taken steps to have the 55-year-old Walter Palmer extradited from the United States.

“The illegal killing was deliberate,” she said in a news conference. “We are appealing to the responsible authorities for his extradition to Zimbabwe so that he can be held accountable for his illegal actions.”

Palmer has admitted to killing the 13-year-old predator, who was tagged with a GPS collar as part of a study by Oxford University. However, he said in a statement that he had hired professional guides and had been assured that all necessary hunting permits were in order.

He has avoided the public eye since Zimbabwean conservationists disclosed his identity this week.

Muchinguri also said that Palmer using a bow and arrow to kill the lion, who was reported to have been lured out of the national park before being shot, violated Zimbabwe’s hunting regulations. Despite this, Palmer, a steadfast big game hunter, returned to the United States before authorities caught wind of the controversy.

“It was too late to apprehend the foreign poacher because he had already absconded to his country of origin,” Muchinguri noted.

Netizens across the world erupted in outrage and vitriol against Palmer while the White House said on Thursday it would review a public petitions bearing more than 100,000 signatures to have him extradited.

The United States and Zimbabwe, which have not enjoyed warm relations since the latter stages of Mugabe’s 36-year rule, are under a 1998 treaty which states that a person can be extradited if they are accused of an offense that calls for more than a year in prison. In this case, Palmer faces a mandatory fine of $20,000 and faces up to 10 years in prison.

Along with many other countries in Africa, Zimbabwe, which is still trying to recover from towering rates of hyperinflation, issues annual hunting permits for big game such as buffalo, elephant, and lion under the premise that the revenues generated can be used for conservation efforts.

According to the head of Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority Edison Chadziya, the southern African nation earned $45 million from hunting.

He added that Zimbabwe currently has an estimated 2000 lions in both private and government-owned reserves and set a cap of 50-70 lions a year.

Theo Bronkhorst, a Zimbabwean professional hunter who assisted Palmer with the hunt, was charged this week for his failings in preventing Palmer from illegally killing Cecil. The case is also being investigated by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.



John Dennis Mendiola
A Business Administration graduate who takes interest in current events and existentialism. He is often found browsing the weird and bizarre during his spare time.


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