The game park owner accused of letting an American tourist illegally hunt and kill a lion on his property in Zimbabwe has been charged in connection with the killing and released on bail in Hwange, his lawyer says.
The killing of Cecil, a 13-year-old rare black-maned lion, and a popular tourist attraction, caused global consternation 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 American dentist Walter Palmer.
A copy of the charge sheet said Ndlovu 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.”
His lawyer Tonderai Mukuku said Ndlovu denied the charge and was set free on $US200 ($270) 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.
Mr Bronkhorst, who acted as Mr Palmer’s guide, is accused of failing to prevent Mr Palmer from killing Cecil, who had been fitted with a GPS collar as part of an Oxford University study, and was a favourite with tourists visiting the Hwange park.
Zimbabwe wants Mr Palmer, 55, extradited from the US to face trial.