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walter palmer extradition


Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has blamed foreign “vandals” for the killing of the country’s most famous lion, Cecil.

The president has also said his compatriots failed in their responsibility to protect Cecil.

Cecil the lion was killed last month by American dentist Walter Palmer.

Robert Mugabe said Zimbabweans should protect their natural resources from what he called foreign “vandals”.

In a speech for National Heroes Day he said: “Even Cecil the lion – he is yours. He’s dead!”

Cecil – a favorite at Hwange National Park – died after he was shot by Walter Palmer using a bow and arrow.

The dentist from Minnesota has said he believed the hunt was legal.Robert Mugabe on Cecil the lion death

It is thought Walter Palmer paid about $50,000 to hunt 13-year-old Cecil, who wore a GPS collar and was being studied by Oxford University for conservation purposes.

Robert Mugabe used a speech in Harare to make his first public comments about the lion, whose death sparked international condemnation.

The president said: “He was yours to protect and you failed to protect him.

“There are vandals who come from all over of course… some may be just ordinary visitors, but [there are] others who want to vandalize, to irregularly and illegally acquire part of our resources.”

Prosecutors have said the lion was shot with an arrow after being lured out of its protected zone, and died from a bullet wound inflicted 40 hours later after it had suffered major blood loss.

Zimbabwe is battling to curb illegal hunting and poaching which threatens to make some of its wildlife extinct.

The country is seeking Walter Palmer’s extradition.

Some commentators have criticized the attention that the death of an animal has received when the nation has endemic poverty and unemployment, and political strife and repression are commonplace.

Much of Robert Mugabe’s speech was spent remembering those killed in the struggle for independence.


American dentist Walter Palmer, who killed Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe, should be extradited to face charges, Zimbabwe’s Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri has said.

His extradition was being sought so that he could “be held accountable for his illegal action,” she said.

Walter Palmer, from Minnesota, is believed to have paid about $50,000 to hunt the lion.

He says he thought the hunt was legal and was unaware Cecil was protected.

Photo AP

Photo AP

At a news conference in the capital, Harare, Oppah Muchinguri referred to Walter Palmer as a “foreign poacher”.

“As we frantically try to protect our wildlife from organized gangs such as this one, there are people… who can connive to undermine Zimbabwean laws,” she said.

“One can conclude with confidence that Dr Palmer, being an American citizen, had a well-orchestrated agenda which would tarnish the image of Zimbabwe and further strain the relationship between Zimbabwe and the USA,” Oppah Muchinguri added.

She also said Walter Palmer’s use of a bow and arrow against Cecil was in contravention of Zimbabwean hunting regulations, Reuters reports.

Two Zimbabwean men have been implicated in the death of the lion.

A professional hunter has been charged with failing to prevent an illegal hunt – which he denies – and prosecutors are deciding on the exact charges the landowner should face.

There has been a huge online backlash against Walter Palmer. The dental practice he runs in Minneapolis has been closed since he was named as the hunter who shot Cecil.

On July 30, the White House said it would review a public petition to extradite the American dentist after more than 100,000 signed it.

However, spokesman Josh Earnest said it was up to the DoJ to respond to any extradition order.