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Theo Bronkhorst


A high court in Zimbabwe court has dropped charges against Theo Bronkhorst , the professional hunter alleged to have helped American dentist Walter Palmer to kill Cecil the lion.

The court ruled that the charges against Theo Bronkhorst “were too vague to enable to him to mount a proper defense”.

Walter Palmer, who killed Cecil the lion last year, was not charged.

Photo AFP/Getty Images

Photo AFP/Getty Images

The famed lion – a favorite at Hwange National Park – was shot by Walter Palmer with a bow and arrow.

Walter Palmer is said to have paid about $50,000 to hunt the lion.

Cecil’s killing sparked international outrage, and prompted a global campaign to end lion trophy hunting.

Theo Bronkhorst said in court that he had obtained all the permits required to kill an elderly lion that was outside the national park boundaries.

Cecil the lion attracted photographic safaris and was part of an Oxford research project into lions at the Hwange National Park.


Zimbabwean hunter Theo Bronkhorst, who led the expedition that killed famed lion Cecil, bids to end his trial.

Theo Bronkhorst has been charged with “failing to prevent an illegal hunt”.

Photo AFP/Getty Images

Photo AFP/Getty Images

His lawyer told the court the charge was “not clear and the circumstances do not constitute a chargeable offence”, reports AFP news agency.

Cecil the lion – a favorite at Hwange National Park – was shot by American dentist Walter Palmer with a bow and arrow.

Theo Bronkhorst denies any wrongdoing, saying he had obtained all the permits required to kill an elderly lion that was outside the national park boundaries.

The trial in Hwange, south-west of Zimbabwe’s capital Harare, has been adjourned until 15 October.

The magistrate will announce then whether it will go ahead.


Walter Palmer, who killed Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe, had done nothing wrong and was a “good man”, AFP quotes Theo Bronkhorst, the Zimbabwean professional hunter who led the expedition as saying.

Theo Bronkhorst made the remarks after his trial for failing to prevent a legal hunt was postponed.

He said the case was “crazy” and the permits to kill Cecil the lion outside Hwange National Park had been obtained.

Cecil’s killing in July has caused outrage around the world and American dentist Walter Palmer is in hiding.

Walter Palmer is believed to have paid about $50,000 to hunt down Cecil, a major tourist attraction at Hwange National Park – Zimbabwe’s largest game reserve.Cecil the lion hunter in court

Zimbabwe’s Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri has called for Walter Palmer to be extradited to face charges.

As he was leaving the court in Hwange town, in north-western Zimbabwe, Theo Bronkhorst defended Walter Palmer.

“I feel sorry for my client [Walter Palmer]. He is a good man. He did nothing wrong,” he told reporters.

Theo Bronkhorst attacked the legal proceedings: “I think it’s frivolous and I think it’s wrong.”

He added that was hunting was “integral” to the country and had to continue.

“If we do not use wildlife sustainably there will be no wildlife,” Theo Bronkhorst said.

When asked about his prosecution, Theo Bronkhorst said it was “crazy”.


Zimbabwean hunter Theo Bronkhorst, who is accused of helping American dentist Walter Palmer kill Cecil, one of Africa’s most famous lions, has been released on bail.

Theo Bronkhorst pleaded not guilty to a charge of “failing to prevent an unlawful hunt”. He was granted bail of $1,000 and ordered to appear in court again on August 5.

His co-accused – farm owner Honest Ndlovu – will appear at a later date.

Walter Palmer, who shot Cecil the lion, has left Zimbabwe but could also face charges.

The American dentist said he paid for the hunt, but was not aware of the lion’s identity.

Photo CNN

Photo CNN

Walter Palmer said he regretted shooting the animal, and believed he was on a legal hunt. He had relied on professional guides to find a lion and obtain the necessary permits, he added.

Theo Bronkhorst and Honest Ndlovu could face up to 15 years in prison if found guilty.

Cecil is believed to have died on July 1st, but the carcass was not discovered until a few days later.

Walter Palmer is said to have shot and injured Cecil with a bow and arrow. The wounded lion was found 40 hours later, when he was shot dead with a gun.

Separately, court records have shown that Walter Palmer has a felony record in the US after killing a black bear in the state of Wisconsin in 2006.

Walter Palmer was given a one-year probation and fined $3,000, having shot the creature outside an authorized zone and then tried to pass it off as having been killed elsewhere.

He is believed to have paid about $50,000 to go on the hunt in Zimbabwe.

More than 400,000 people have signed an online “Justice for Cecil” petition, calling on Zimbabwe’s government to stop issuing hunting permits for endangered animals.

Walter Palmer insists that he believed his guides had secured “all proper permits” for the hunt.

“I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt,” he said in a statement on July 28.

“I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion.”

Walter Palmer said he had not been contacted by authorities in Zimbabwe or the US but would “assist them in any inquiries they may have”.

The dentist is believed to be back in the US, although his exact whereabouts are unknown.

His dental practice in Bloomington, Minnesota, has been temporarily closed and a note placed on the door referring visitors to a public relations firm. A protest is due to be held outside the building later.

The practice’s social media accounts have also been disabled, after they were flooded with messages from angry members of the public.

Cecil the lion was skinned and beheaded, according to the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force (ZCTF), a local charity.

The ZCTF said the hunters had used bait to lure him outside Hwange National Park during a night-time pursuit.

Cecil had a GPS collar fitted for a research project by UK-based Oxford University that allowed authorities to track its movements. The hunters had tried to destroy it but failed, according to the ZCTF.