US launches probe into killing of Ce­cil the lion

CityPress - - News - – Staff re­porter

Amer­i­can author­i­ties have launched their own in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the killing of Zim­babwe’s world­fa­mous lion, Ce­cil.

CNN re­ports that the US’s Fish and Wildlife Ser­vice has ini­ti­ated a probe into the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the killing of the lion by an Amer­i­can den­tist, which has sparked world­wide out­rage.

Wal­ter Palmer, a den­tist from Min­nesota, killed Ce­cil while hunt­ing in Zim­babwe at the be­gin­ning of last month. Author­i­ties in the US are, how­ever, bat­tling to track him down.

Ed­ward Grace, the US Fish and Wildlife Ser­vice’s deputy as­sis­tant di­rec­tor for law en­force­ment, told CNN: “That in­ves­ti­ga­tion will take us wher­ever the facts lead. At this point in time, how­ever, mul­ti­ple ef­forts to con­tact Palmer have been un­suc­cess­ful. We ask that Palmer or his rep­re­sen­ta­tive con­tact us im­me­di­ately.”

CNN re­ported that Palmer had gone un­der­ground as global out­rage and con­dem­na­tion con­tin­ued to pour in over his killing of Ce­cil, who was a tourist at­trac­tion in Zim­babwe.

Zim­babwe’s con­ser­va­tion of­fi­cials have also be­gun a process to have the den­tist ex­tra­dited to Harare to ac­count for his ac­tions.

Op­pah Muchin­guri, Zim­babwe’s en­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter, told CNN that he hoped US of­fi­cials would co­op­er­ate with his coun­try’s ef­forts to have Palmer ex­tra­dited.

“He [Palmer] had a well-or­ches­trated agenda that would tar­nish the im­age of Zim­babwe and fur­ther strain the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Zim­babwe and the US.”

Two Zim­bab­weans have al­ready ap­peared in court over the killing of the lion.

Two weeks ago, Muchin­guri is­sued a press re­lease con­demn­ing Palmer for killing the lion. The killing, which Palmer car­ried out with a bow and arrow, was illegal, he said, adding that the owner of the game farm on which Ce­cil was killed was not li­censed to au­tho­rise the hunt­ing of lions.

On Tues­day, Palmer re­leased a state­ment, claim­ing that he was not aware of Ce­cil’s so­cial stand­ing. “I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, lo­cal favourite, was col­lared and part of a study, un­til the end of the hunt. I re­lied on the ex­per­tise of my lo­cal pro­fes­sional guides to en­sure a le­gal hunt.”

Ce­cil the lion

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