American dentist Walter Palmer, who sparked an international outcry after killing Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe, will not be prosecuted because he had obtained the legal authority to hunt, officials say.
Walter Palmer, 55, admitted to killing Cecil in July but has always denied that he acted illegally.
Zimbabwe’s Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri said Walter Palmer could not be charged as all his “papers were in order”.
Oppah Muchinguri said Zimbabwe would now review how it issues hunting licenses.
The environment minister had previously called for Walter Palmer to be extradited and face prosecution. However, it appears that Walter Palmer broke no laws when he killed the lion using a bow and arrow.
“We approached the police and then the Prosecutor General, and it turned out that [Walter] Palmer came to Zimbabwe because all the papers were in order,” Oppah Muchinguru said.
Meanwhile the trial against Walter Palmer’s Zimbabwean guide, Theo Bronkhurst, is due to continue on October 15.
Theo Bronkhurst denies the charge of “failing to prevent an illegal hunt”.
After his name was revealed by the press, Walter Palmer’s dentistry practice and home were targeted by protesters. He has now returned to work after a two-month break.
Walter Palmer is believed to have paid $50,000 to hunt the lion in Zimbabwe’s largest game reserve.
Walter Palmer, who generated an outcry after killing Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe, has returned to his dental practice in Minnesota after weeks in hiding.
The dentist arrived at work at 07:00 local time where a throng of media and a few protesters awaited him.
Employees were seen escorting Walter Palmer and patients into the surgery, as photographers swarmed the office.
In recent interviews, Walter Palmer has claimed that the hunt was legal and that he was shocked to hear the animal was famous.
Police were present as Walter Palmer parked his vehicle on a nearby street and walked into his office in Bloomington, Minnesota. A staff member clutched his arm as the pair pushed past a group of journalists.
One woman could be heard screaming “Extradite Palmer!”
Walter Palmer, 55, did not speak to the media on September 8, but did give an interview to the Minneapolis Star Tribune on September 6.
“I need to get back to treating my patients,” Walter Palmer said.
“My staff and my patients support me, and they want me back. That’s why I’m back.”
The killing of Cecil in July prompted a global uproar, which Walter Palmer has claimed led to “some safety issues” for his family.
Walter Palmer’s clinic and his home in nearby Eden Prairie became the site of protests, and his holiday home in Florida was vandalized.
Police did not consider the protesters.
Walter Palmer is believed to have been paid $50,000 to hunt a lion in Zimbabwe’s largest game reserve, but he says he was unaware it was so famous.
“If I had known this lion had a name and was important to the country or a study obviously I wouldn’t have taken it,” he said.
“Nobody in our hunting party knew before or after the name of this lion.”
Cecil was well known in the Hwange National Park and was being tracked with a GPS collar as part of a research program run by Oxford University.
The Zimbabwe’s safari organization has said the way in which Cecil was lured out of a national park was unethical and possibly illegal.
Initially, Zimbabwe sought to charge and extradite Walter Palmer, but the government’s interest in him has waned in recent weeks.
The Associated Press reported that government officials fear it could hamper a hunting industry that is lucrative and important for Zimbabwe.
Walter Palmer, who sparked an international outcry after killing Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe, has said he did nothing wrong and is planning to return to work this week.
Speaking in his first interview since the July killing of Cecil, Walter Palmer said he had been unaware of the lion’s significance.
The Minnesota dentist also revealed that there had been “some safety issues” for his family.
Zimbabwe has said it wishes to extradite and prosecute Walter Palmer.
Speaking publicly for the first time about the incident, Walter Palmer told the Associated Press and Minneapolis Star Tribune acted legally, but said that if he had known who the animal was he would not have killed it.
“If I had known this lion had a name and was important to the country or a study obviously I wouldn’t have taken it,” Walter Palmer said.
“Nobody in our hunting party knew before or after the name of this lion.”
Walter Palmer, 55, admitted that he wounded the lion with an arrow but denied that it had subsequently taken 40 hours to track down and kill it. He also denied claims by the Zimbabwean authorities that it had been killed by a gun, saying that an arrow had been used.
The dentist is believed to have paid $50,000 to hunt a lion in Zimbabwe’s largest game reserve.
Walter Palmer was forced to cease working following protests outside of his dentistry practice.
He says he intends to return to work because “my staff and my patients support me and they want me back”.
However, Walter Palmer denied that he had been forced into hiding for his own safety.
“I’ve been out of the public eye. That doesn’t mean I’m in hiding,” he said.
“I’ve been among people, family and friends.”
Walter Palmer did reveal that his wife and daughter had faced intimidation.
“They’ve been threatened in the social media, and again … I don’t understand that level of humanity to come after people not involved at all,” he said.
An avid hunter who had previously visited Zimbabwe four times, Walter Palmer did not rule out returning to the country.
“I don’t know about the future,” he said.
“Zimbabwe has been a wonderful country for me to hunt in, and I have always followed the laws.”
Honest Ndlovu, the game park operator accused of letting American dentist Walter Palmer illegally hunt and kill Cecil the lion on his property in Zimbabwe, has been charged in connection with the killing and released on bail in Hwange, his lawyer said.
The killing of Cecil, a 13-year-old, rare, black-maned lion and a popular tourist attraction, caused worldwide outrage and triggered a major backlash against Africa’s multi-million dollar hunting industry.
Honest Ndlovu owns the game park into which Cecil was lured from the adjacent Hwange National Park and shot with a bow and arrow by Walter Palmer.
He was charged with permitting “a person who is not ordinarily resident in Zimbabwe to hunt the said animal which was not on the hunting quota”.
Lawyer Tonderai Mukuku said Honest Ndlovu denies the charge and was set free on $200 bail. He will return to court on September 18.
The same Hwange court last week postponed until September 28 the trial of local hunter Theo Bronkhorst.
Theo Bronkhorst, who acted as Walter Palmer’s guide, is accused of failing to prevent the American from killing Cecil, who had been fitted with a GPS collar as part of an Oxford University study.
Cecil the lion was a favorite with tourists visiting Hwange park.
Zimbabwe wants Walter Palmer, 55, extradited from the US to face trial.
Cecil the lion may be commemorated by a bronze statue at the entrance to Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park in, where he lived, a Zimbabwe conservation group has announced.
The lion’s death prompted worldwide outrage after being killed by American dentist Walter Palmer.
Zimbabwe is now seeking Walter Palmer’s extradition.
Cecil’s death made headlines around the world, and sent Walter Palmer into hiding.
The famous lion was killed outside Hwange park using a bow and arrow. Walter Palmer says he thought the hunt was legal but two Zimbabwean men have been arrested over the killing.
Cheryl Rodrigues of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force said people had already offered donations for the sculpture – the cost of which has not yet been confirmed.
She said: “Cecil was such an icon and it’s created such a fuss everywhere we thought it would be nice to do it.”
The Conservation Task Force has commissioned John Binder of Birds for Africa to make the statue and said it would be an “excellent reminder to all who visit the park”.
John Binder, a metal sculptor for 24 years, said he was “a little bit thunderstruck” to be asked and when his wife Debbie found out she nearly fell over.
“There’s a hell of a lot of pressure,” he said.
John Binder called Cecil’s death “crazy, stupid” and down to “sheer greed”, but added: “We are going to have to be detached from the emotion and get on with the job.”
His previous work includes statues of a pride of lions at a private game lodge in South Africa.
Oxford University had been studying Cecil for lion conservation and John Binder said he was hoping researchers could tell him how much the lion weighed and his dimensions to make the sculpture as realistic as possible.
Cheryl Rodrigues said it was not clear whether a permit would be needed from the park for the statue to be placed at the entrance.
Some have criticized the plan, telling the organization on their Facebook page that it would be more beneficial to use the money to counter corruption and improve conservation.
This is not the only legacy project afoot for the 13-year-old animal renowned for being friendly towards visitors.
Earlier this week the conservation group’s chairman Johnny Rodrigues suggested Cecil’s head be mounted in a glass case.
Three American airlines – Delta, United and American Airlines – have banned the shipment of big-game trophies on flights after the illegal killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe.
They would no longer transport lion, rhinoceros, leopard, elephant or buffalo remains, the airlines announced.
The airlines have not, however, given official reasons for their announcements.
Delta flies direct to a number of African cities and was subjected to an online petition to ban such shipments.
American Airlines and United fly to fewer sub-Saharan cities than Delta, but United said in a tweet its decision to stop carrying trophies was “effective immediately”.
United spokesman Charles Hobart said: “We felt it made sense to do so.”
Cecil the lion was shot illegally in July by American dentist Walter Palmer of Minnesota. Zimbabwe is seeking his extradition and that of a doctor from Pennsylvania, named as Jan Casimir Seski, who is suspected of killing another lion in April.
Walter Palmer is believed to have paid about $50,000 to hunt Cecil, a major tourist attraction in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park.
He says he thought the hunt was legal and was unaware Cecil was protected, but the killing triggered a huge online backlash.
Delta would not answer questions from journalists as to why it made its decision on August 3, nor would it detail how many hunting trophies it has transported in recent years.
“Effective immediately, Delta will officially ban shipment of all lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo trophies worldwide as freight,” Delta said in a brief statement.
Its announcement came as several other airlines indicated that they are – or soon will be – stopping the transport of all trophy-hunting kills.
As recently as May, Delta said it would continue to allow such shipments.
A second American, named as Jan Casmir Sieski, is wanted in Zimbabwe over the illegal killing of a lion, as the outcry over the death of famous Cecil the lion continues.
Jan Casmir Sieski, a doctor from Pennsylvania, killed a lion in April, the National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority said.
A Zimbabwean landowner has since been arrested, the agency said.
Cecil the lion was shot illegally in July by American dentist Walter Palmer of Minnesota. Zimbabwe is seeking his extradition.
The National Parks authority gave little information on the new case, but said on August 2 that the killing of the lion had taken place without a permit.
It said the hunt had been arranged by a Zimbabwean man who owned a safari company.
The authority said in a statement that it had agreed to “undertake an industry-wide investigation to crack down and weed out any illegal hunting activities”, but it was not clear if the latest case had emerged from that investigation.
A Pennsylvania address said to be Jan Casmir Sieski’s was listed in the latest release, but no further details have emerged.
Walter Palmer is believed to have paid about $50,000 to hunt Cecil, a major tourist attraction in the Hwange National Park.
The dentist says he thought the hunt was legal and was unaware Cecil was protected.
There has been a huge online backlash against Walter Palmer.
The dental practice Walter Palmer runs in Minneapolis has been closed since he was named as the hunter who shot Cecil.
Walter Palmer, who killed Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe, has apologized to his patients in Minnesota for the disruption caused by the anger directed at him.
His dental practice in Minneapolis has been closed since the dentist was named as the tourist who shot Cecil, Zimbabwe’s most famous lion.
Two Zimbabwean men have been charged over the death and local police say Walter Palmer may also face poaching charges.
The American dentist says he thought the hunt was legal and was unaware Cecil was protected.
In a letter sent to his “valued” patients on July 28, Walter Palmer said he had been in the news “for reasons that have nothing to do with my profession or the care I provide for you”.
He described himself as a “life-long hunter” but said he rarely discussed his passion with patients “because it can be a divisive and emotionally charged topic”.
Echoing an earlier statement, Walter Palmer insisted that he thought the hunt was legal and said he would assist authorities in Zimbabwe or the US in their inquiries.
Cecil, who was a major tourist attraction at Zimbabwe’s largest game reserve in Hwange National Park, is believed to have died on July 1, but the carcass was not discovered until a few days later.
Walter Palmer is said to have shot and injured the animal with a bow and arrow. The wounded lion was not found until 40 hours later, when he was shot dead with a gun.
The lion was later skinned and beheaded, according to the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force (ZCTF), a local charity.
The animal had a GPS collar fitted for a research project by Oxford University that allowed authorities to track its movements. The hunters had tried to destroy it but failed, according to the ZCTF.
Walter Palmer’s dental practice has closed its website and social media accounts since his identity was revealed after thousands of people flooded them with angry comments.
A protest was held outside the building on July 29.
About 100 protesters, both adults and children, stood around holding posters that had messages like “Justice for Cecil”, “Trophy hunters are cowards” and “Prosecute poachers”.
Protesters chanted “Extradite! Extradite!” Walter Palmer was nowhere to be seen.
Two women from the Minneapolis-based Animals Rights Coalition said they organized the protest to raise awareness about animal cruelty.
On July 29, professional hunter Theo Bronkhorst pleaded not guilty to a charge of “failing to prevent an unlawful hunt” at a court in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare.
Theo Bronkhorst 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 is believed to have paid about $50,000 to go on the hunt in Zimbabwe.
He is well known in the American hunting community. In 2006, he was found guilty of killing a black bear outside an authorized zone in the state of Wisconsin and lying to authorities about it. He was fined $3,000.
Walter Palmer has visited Zimbabwe for hunting trips in the past and one image posted online in 2010 shows him posing with a leopard he killed.
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.
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.
Walter Palmer is under heavy criticism from conservationists and animal lovers following allegations that he paid $50,000 to go on a hunt in Zimbabwe.
The American dentist was identified on July 28 by The Telegraph as the hunter who paid $50,000 to kill Cecil the lion, one of Africa’s most famous lions, earlier this month.
In Zimbabwe, hunters can pay $50,000 to kill a trophy lion.
Zimbabwean police are searching for Walter Palmer, who shot the protected lion with a crossbow, the Associated Press reported.
After The Telegraph’s report that Walter Palmer was responsible for Cecil’s death, his name quickly started trending worldwide on Twitter.
Users are also sharing several photos from Walter Palmer’s other hunts. They also tweeted death threats and began sharing the contact information for Walter Palmer’s dental practice, River Bluff Dental.
Meanwhile, a petition calling for “justice” has already been signed by more than 12,000 people.