Zimbabwe will not charge American dentist Walter Palmer for killing its most prized lion because he had obtained legal authority to conduct the hunt, a cabinet minister said.
In July, Palmer, a lifelong big-game hunter from Minnesota, stoked a global controversy when he killed Cecil, a rare black-maned lion, with a bow and arrow outside Hwange National Park in Western Zimbabwe.
Palmer’s hunting papers were in order, said environment minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri yesterday.
Consequently, he could not be charged.
“We approached the police and then the prosecutor general, and it turned out that Palmer came to Zimbabwe because all the papers were in order,” she told reporters.
Muchinguri Kashiri said Palmer was free to visit Zimbabwe as a tourist but not as a hunter.
The implication was he would not be issued the permits a hunter needs.
Two more people still face charges related to Cecil’s killing.
Both allegedly were involved in using bait to lure Cecil out of his habitat.
Theo Bronkhorst, a professional hunter in Zimbabwe, is charged with breaching hunting rules in connection with the hunt in which Cecil was killed.
A game park owner is also charged with allowing an illegal hunt.
Both have denied the charges.
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