Hunting lions is banned in Zimbabwe. Killing a popular Lion called affectionately as ‘Cecil’ by the locals has stirred a hornet’s nest. The animal was killed on 1st July, but the skinned and beheaded carcass was discovered only a few days later. 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.
Mr Palmer who runs a dental practice in Minneapolis was named as the tourist who shot Cecil. People gathered outside his clinic with placards saying “Justice for Cecil”, “Trophy hunters are cowards” and “Prosecute poachers”. In the wake of a public petition signed by more than 100,000, the White House said it would review to extradite the American dentist.
Mr Palmer who thought hunting lion was legal had paid about $50,000 (£32,000) to go on the hunt in Zimbabwe. Theo Bronkhorst, the supervisor of the hunt and farm owner Honest Ndlovu had been arrested. Cecil the lion was unethically lured out of its habitat. They will serve up to 15 years in prison, if found guilty.
The American had since returned to US and is still at large. Safari Club International the organisation which promotes big-game hunting worldwide suspended the memberships of both Mr Palmer and Mr Bronkhorst and said the offenders should be prosecuted and punished to the maximum extent allowed by law.
It is the duty of all and not the people of Africa alone, to ensure that healthy, wild population of animals continue to roam in the savannah for generations to come.