Zimbabwe court drops char­ges against hun­ter who hel­ped kill Ce­cil the li­on

Times of Suriname - - ENGELS -

ZIMBABWE - A Zim­bab­wean court has thrown out char­ges against a lo­cal hun­ter ac­cu­sed of fai­ling to stop the kil­ling of the coun­try’s most pri­zed li­on by an Ame­ri­can den­tist, his la­wy­er said yes­ter­day.

Wal­ter Pal­mer, a li­fe­long big­ga­me hun­ter from Min­ne­so­ta, tou­ched off a glo­bal con­tro­ver­sy when he kil­led Ce­cil, a ra­re black-ma­ned li­on, with a bow and ar­row out­si­de Hwan­ge Na­ti­o­nal Park in wes­tern Zimbabwe in Ju­ly last year. Whi­le Zim­bab­wean au­tho­ri­ties said Pal­mer had legal au­tho­ri­ty to hunt, they we­re stung by the in­ter­na­ti­o­nal out­cry and char­ged lo­cal hun­ter Theo Bronk­horst, who as­sisted Pal­mer, with fai­ling to pre­vent an un­law­ful hunt. Bronk­horst’s la­wy­ers then ap­plied to the High Court in Zimbabwe’s se­cond ci­ty of Bulawayo to set asi­de the char­ge, ar­guing it could not ha­ve been an of­fen­ce un­der the coun­try’s wild­li­fe laws if Pal­mer had a per­mit to hunt. “The court gran­ted us that pray­er yes­ter­day - that the char­ges be quas­hed. So I can­not ima­gi­ne the sta­te co­ming back again char­ging him with the sa­me char­ge,” said Lo­ve­mo­re Mu­vhi­rin­gi, a la­wy­er for Bronk­horst. Ce­cil had been fit­ted with a col­lar to track his mo­ve­ments but stray­ed out­si­de the con­fi­nes of Hwan­ge Na­ti­o­nal Park and was then shot. Bronk­horst was ac­cu­sed of laying bait to lu­re Ce­cil out of the park. Pal­mer said at the ti­me that no one in his hun­ting par­ty re­a­li­zed the tar­ge­ted li­on was Ce­cil. Wild­li­fe hun­ting is an im­por­tant re­ve­nue sour­ce for the sou­t­hern Afri­can coun­try, which is grap­pling with its worst shor­ta­ge of cash sin­ce it dum­ped its in­fla­ti­on-ra­va­ged cur­r­en­cy in fa­vor of the US dol­lar in 2009. Con­ser­va­ti­o­nists world­wi­de we­re ou­t­ra­ged when Zimbabwe’s govern­ment an­noun­ced in Oc­to­ber last year that Pal­mer would not be char­ged over Ce­cil’s kil­ling be­cau­se he had ob­tai­ned legal au­tho­ri­ty to con­duct the hunt. (Reu­ters.com)

A litt­le girl from Min­ne­t­on­ka, Min­ne­so­ta, holds a sign at the door­way of Ri­ver Bluff Den­tal cli­nic in pro­test against the kil­ling of a fa­mous li­on.(Pho­to: Reu­ters.com)

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