(Reuters) - Zimbabwe has linked a Pennsylvania doctor to an investigation into illegal lion hunting, naming him on Sunday as a client of a safari operator accused of breaching regulations, a week after an American dentist was accused of illegally killing the country’s most famous lion, Cecil.
Dr. Jan Seski, who runs a women’s health practice in Pittsburgh, was named by Zimbabwe as a client of Nyala Safaris, owned by a landowner who has been arrested on accusations of conducting an illegal hunt.
The doctor was in Zimbabwe in April, according to a statement issued by Prince Mupazviriho, permanent secretary in the ministry of environment, water and climate.
The statement spells the doctor’s name as Jan Sieski but the address provided and other details indicate the doctor is Jan Seski. It did not say if the doctor was being accused of any wrongdoing.
In July, Minneapolis dentist and trophy hunter Walter Palmer killed a rare black-maned lion known as Cecil that ruled over a pride in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. The slaying of the lion triggered global outrage on social media, protests, and petitions calling for Palmer to be extradited to Zimbabwe.
Referring to Palmer as a “foreign poacher”, Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri said last week that Palmer should be handed over to Zimbabwean officials to face justice.
On Sunday, Seski did not reply to telephone messages left at his home and office.
The Horns of Africa Safaris website pictures a man identified as Seski posing with animals it says he killed with a bow and arrow, including a zebra, cape buffalo and ostrich.
A website for Alaska Bowhunting Supply pictures a man identified as Seski with an elephant carcass and a caption that reads, “This Zimbabwe elephant is the sixth African elephant shot by Dr. Jan Seski.”
A Facebook page for Dr. Jan Seski Women’s Health was racking up comments on Sunday afternoon.
“Kudos on lion kill recently. You are a fine specimen of the human race. I see that you also murdered an elephant ...” one comment read.
The government of Zimbabwe has said that in the aftermath of the killing of Cecil it has directed Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and other law enforcement agencies to undertake an industry-wide investigation to “crack down and weed out any illegal hunting activities.”
Stewart Dorrington, operator of Melorani Safaris in South Africa, said Seski had hunted on his property and all his actions there were “perfectly legal.”
“Jan Seski contributed greatly to our wildlife management and costs of running our reserve as well as to the rural community that is dependent on us for their livelihoods,” Dorrington said in an email.
Reporting by Carey Gillam; Additional reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe in Harare, Zimbabwe; Editing by Toni Reinhold and Andrew Hay