Zimbabwe wants Cecil the lion’s killer extradited

Zimbabwe wants Cecil the lion’s killer extradited
© Bryan Orford

Zimbabwean officials are asking the United States to extradite the Minnesota man accused of killing the beloved lion Cecil earlier this month.

Oppah Muchinguri, Zimbabwe’s environment minister, said at a Friday news conference that dentist Walter Palmer was a “foreign poacher” who illegally killed Cecil after paying local guides to lure the iconic lion out of a national park, Reuters reported.

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“The illegal killing was deliberate,” she said. “We are appealing to the responsible authorities for his extradition to Zimbabwe so that he can be held accountable for his illegal actions.”

Palmer has admitted to killing the 13-year-old lion, saying he regrets killing such an important animal, but he believe his actions were above-board since he paid the guides.

Federal wildlife officials in the United States have launched an investigation into whether the 55-year-old dentist Palmer violated any laws.

But the Fish and Wildlife Service has thus far not been able to locate Palmer and put out a public appeal for him or his representatives to contact the authorities.

Specifically, Muchinguri said Palmer’s use of a bow and arrow is illegal under Zimbabwe law. Officials wanted to detain him, but they could not.

“It was too late to apprehend the foreign poacher because he had already absconded to his country of origin,” she said, according to Reuters.

Cecil’s killing sparked international backlash in social media and among wildlife advocates.