HARARE, Zimbabwe, Oct. 12 (UPI) — The Minnesota hunter who killed a popular lion, sparking an international outrage, will not be prosecuted, Zimbabwe officials said Monday.
Walter Palmer, a Bloomington, Minn., dentist and big-game hunter, admitted killing Cecil the Lion with a bow and arrow but has denied that his actions were illegal. Zimbabwean Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri, after weeks of demanding Palmer’s extradition and trial, said Monday that Palmer had obtained legal permission to hunt, and would not be charged.
“We approached the police and then the prosecutor general, and it turned out that Palmer came to Zimbabwe because all the papers were in order,” Muchinguri said.
The death of the popular lion initiated a global outcry condemning those who hunt big-game animals for sport.
The trial of Palmer’s guide on the hunt, Theo Bronkhurst, continues in Zimbabwe. He was charged with “failing to prevent an illegal hunt,” a charge he denies. Bronkhurst faces up to 15 years imprisonment if convicted.