Zimbabwe urged the US on Friday to extradite Walter Palmer, the hunter who killed Zimbabwe’s symbolic lion, Cecil in Hwange national park earlier this month.
The hunter who is an American dentist, posed in a photograph with Cecil’s body beside him, after allegedly paying $55,000 for his hunt.
Palmer killed the lion who was Zimbabwe’s prominent touristic attraction, with a bow and arrow before skinning and beheading the animal. Cecil’s head and pelt were later confiscated.
The hunter told the US government that he was misled and apologised.
Zimbabwe’s Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri urged “responsible authorities for Palmer’s extradition to Zimbabwe so that he can be made accountable for his illegal actions.”
“It was too late to apprehend the foreign poacher as he had already absconded to his country of origin,” Muchinguri said.
The guide, Theo Bronkhorst who organised the hunt was granted bail on Wednesday after he was charged with “failing to prevent an illegal hunt,” and he is due to stand trial on Aug. 5.
“We shot an old male lion that I believed was past his breeding age,” Bronkhorst said.
“I don’t think that I’ve done anything wrong.”
“We had obtained the permit for bow hunting, we had obtained the permit for the lion from the council,” Bronkhorst added.
An extradition treaty does exist between the two nations, according to a US State Department official.
Meanwhile, many Americans have protested against the dentist’s brutal killing of Cecil, and have demonstrated in front of his River Bluff Dental clinic, some shouting “Rot in Hell.”
Palmer was sued for sexual abuse earlier in 2005, by a woman who worked as his assistant for almost six years, and she received $127,500 payout by the predator dentist.