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Zimbabwe restricts hunting after Cecil's death

August 1, 2015

Zimbabwe officials have restricted hunting of lions, leopards and elephants around Hwange National Park, after a tourist killed the park's iconic lion. Another lion in the reserve has also reportedly been poached.

Image: picture-alliance/dpa/Zumaress

Zimbabwe's wildlife authorities announced the new restriction on Saturday, in the wake of the recent scandal centered around the death of Cecil the lion.

Also on Saturday, an unnamed source at the Hwange National Park told the Reuters news agency that another lion has been killed illegally by a foreign hunter on July 3.

"Hunting of lions, leopards and elephant in areas outside of Hwange National Park has been suspended with immediate effect," Edson Chidziya, head of Zimbabwe's parks and wildlife authority said in a statement.

International outrage was unleashed when Cecil, the star of the Hwange National Park, was lured out of the parks boundaries and shot by American dentist Walter Palmer. The wealthy tourist allegedly used a bow and arrow to wound the animal, then tracked it down and killed it, accompanied by local guide Theo Bronkhorst.

Wildlife officials also suspended bow and arrow hunting, except with a permission from the top tier of the organization.

"All such hunts will only be conducted if confirmed and authorized in writing by the Director-General of the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, and only if accompanied by parks staff," Chidziya said.

New arrests

Palmer's guide, Bronkhorst, is due to appear in court next week on a charge of "failing to prevent an illegal hunt." The Zimbabwean government has also appealed for the United States to extradite Palmer.

In addition, police have arrested a Zimbabwean land owner over the killing of yet another lion, who died in the same area as Cecil in April.

Chidziya said that his organization had joined forces with police "to weed out any undesirable elements."

"The Authority will not hesitate to arrest, prosecute, and ban for life any persons including professional hunters, clients and land owners who are caught on the wrong side of the law," he said on Saturday.

Experts believe that about a dozen lions have been killed illegally around the Hwange Park in recent years. However, none of the hunters have been caught.

dj/jlw (AP, AFP, Reuters)