HARARE (Reuters) - 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 said.
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 seen by Reuters 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 denies the charge and was set free on $200 bail. He will return to court on Sept. 18.
The same Hwange court last week postponed until Sept. 28 the trial of local hunter Theo Bronkhorst.
Bronkhorst, who acted as Palmer’s guide, is accused of failing to prevent Palmer from killing Cecil, who had been fitted with a GPS collar as part of an Oxford University study, and was a favorite with tourists visiting Hwange park.
Zimbabwe wants Palmer, 55, extradited from the United States to face trial.
Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky