Cape Town - Theo Bronchorst, a professional hunter with Bushman Safaris, is facing criminal charges for allegedly killing Cecil the collared lion in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park.
‘Cecil’ was well-known and regularly sighted by tourists in the main camp area of Hwange, with news of the killing trending globally at the time of publishing.
READ: Hunting Industry told to clean up its act after protected lion killed in shock 'legal hunt'
US hunting tourist, Walter Palmer, who reportedly has a hunting felony history, is also facing charges for the illegal hunt – although Palmer issued a statement saying he was under the impression the hunt was legal, until the very end. Local authorities in Zimbabwe allege the lion was lured from a protected area and killed in early July. Zimbabwean conservationists said the American allegedly paid $50 000 (about R628 000 @R12.56/$) for the trip.
All persons implicated in this case are due to appear in court facing poaching charges, according to a joint press statement issued by the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA) and the Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe (SOAZ).
The legality of the hunt has been called into question by ZPWMA, as the regulatory authority that issues hunting permits and hunting quotas in Zimbabwe, “since the land owner was not allocated a lion on his hunting quota for 2015”.
“In this case, both the professional hunter and land owner had no permit or quota to justify the off-take of the lion and therefore are liable for the illegal hunt.”
READ: US Dentist: I thought lion hunt was legal
Both professional hunter Theo and the owner of Antoinette farm, Honest Trymore Ndlovu are being jointly charged for illegally hunting the lion and were due to appear in court on Wednesday, 29 July 2015.
The statement also confirmed Bronkhosrt’s licence has been suspended with immediate effect and that the lion trophy, including the lion's head, has been confiscated.
The investigation into the incident is ongoing.
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