Zimbabweans couldn’t really grok the whole Cecil the Lion kerfuffle that erupted when Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer offed the world’s favorite big cat (that no one had ever heard of before). As one puzzled local replied when asked, “You are saying that all this noise is about a dead lion? Lions are killed all the time in this country…What’s so special about this one?” It was only the western press and anti-hunting lefties who anthropomorphized the beast and treated the situation as they would someone shooting Mickey Mouse with an RPG at Disney World in front of 200 six-year-olds. But now, after much sturm und drang, as far as Zimbabwe in concerned . . .
Zimbabwe will not charge American dentist Walter Palmer for killing its most prized lion in July because he had obtained legal authority to conduct the hunt, a Cabinet minister said on Monday, angering conservationists. …
Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said on Monday that Palmer’s hunting papers were in order, and therefore he could 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-Kashiri told reporters.
He may not be completely in the clear, though.
The environment minister’s comments immediately drew the ire of the animal conservation group Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, which maintained that Palmer had committed a crime and said it planned to pursue legal action against him in the United States. …
“The fact is the law was broken,” said Johnny Rodrigues, the head of the Zimbabwe task force, which first reported news of Cecil’s killing. “We are going to get our advocates in America to actually see what they can do to bring justice to him.”
The professional hunter Palmer used and the owner of the game park are still facing charges, though. As for the doc, he’d proclaimed his innocence from the beginning. Not that it much mattered.
Palmer has previously said that the hunt was legal and no one in the hunting party realized the targeted lion was Cecil, a well-known tourist attraction in the park.
I guess he wasn’t lyin’.