Cecil the Lion Killer Won’t Be Charged by Zimbabwe Officials

Environment minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri says American dentist Walter Palmer’s hunting papers were in order, so no crime was committed

YouTube/ Bryan Orford

Cecil the Lion killer Walter Palmer is only guilty of causing a global uproar from animal activists.

Zimbabwe’s environment minister, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, told Reuters on Monday that the Minnesota-based dentist won’t be charged for killing the animal, because he had obtained legal authority to conduct the hunt near Hwange National Park in Western Zimbabwe.

“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,” said Muchinguri-Kashiri.

Animals activists can at least rest easy that Palmer will not be allowed to hunt any more big game in Zimbabwe, as Muchinguri-Kashiri said he can only return as a tourist.

Palmer has previously denied any wrongdoing, insisting that the hunt was legal and that he didn’t know the animal was a prized attraction at the park.

“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,” Palmer said while breaking his silence in September. “Nobody in our hunting party knew before or after the name of this lion.”

The death of the rare black-maned lion outraged Hollywood, as well. Whoopi Goldberg called it “murder” on “The View,” and Jimmy Kimmel got emotional while condemning the dentist’s actions on his ABC late-night show.

Ricky Gervais, Olivia Wilde and Sharon Osbourne were also among the offended.

Although Palmer is off the hook, two other men may still pay for allegedly using bait to lure Cecil out of his protected habitat.

Theo Bronkhorst, a professional hunter in Zimbabwe, is set to appear in court on Thursday in an attempt to get a judge to dismiss a charge against him for breaching hunting rules. A game park owner has also been charged for allowing an illegal hunt.