Two men are due to appear in court in Zimbabwe on charges linking them to the killing of Cecil, the country’s most famous lion.
According to the BBC, hunter Theo Bronkhorst – who works for Bushman Safaris – and farmer Honest Ndlovu, are charged with poaching offences for not obtaining the correct hunting permit. World News Reports also confirmed the breaking news on a headline that has garnered critical attention this week.
Media outlets and social media have been in uproar over the killing of Cecil. US dentist Walter Palmer killed the lion with a bow and rifle, which has polarised internet users and animal lovers worldwide. As a result, more than 265,000 people have signed an online ‘Justice for Cecil’ petition, urging Zimbabwe’s government to stop issuing hunting permits against endangered animals.
A deluge of online comments on social media have condemned the dentist and some people have called for Palmer to face justice. Palmer, a father of two from Minnesota, who says the identity of the lion was not known to him, paid about $50,000 for the hunt and could also face charges for poaching. His dental practice has since been closed and all online presence removed due to the backlash.
Cecil the lion was skinned and beheaded, according to the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force (ZCTF), a local charity. They also revealed the animal had a GPS collar fitted for research purposes, which allowed authorities to track Cecil’s whereabouts. The hunters tried to destroy it, but failed, after luring the animal beyond the reserve boundary.
Inquisitr has recently reported that court records show the dentist already holds a felony record in the US for killing a black bear in Wisconsin during 2006. Palmer was given a one-year probation and fined $3,000 for shooting the animal outside of an authorised hunting zone. He tried to pass this kill off as having happened elsewhere.
Palmer is an avid hunter, one who regularly uploads photos to hunting blogs. Such images have included a leopard, a rhino (see above), an elk, and a Nevada bighorn, a hugely endangered sheep. His kill list is also reputed to feature polar bears, bison and cougars.
Palmer confirms he regrets shooting the animal and believed he was on a legitimate hunt.
Bronkhorst and Ndlovu, who accompanied him on the hunt, could face up to 15 years in prison if a guilty verdict is reached.
[Images: Mashable.com and heavy.com]