Ever since Walter Palmer shot him during an illegal hunt in a Zimbabwe nature reserve, the public has wondered whether Cecil the Lion‘s killer will be extradited in order to face charges for his crimes.
Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri told reporters today that between the copious publicity surrounding Cecil’s death and Palmer’s hunting papers legally being in order, the country is no longer interested in pressing charges against him. She also said that Palmer would be allowed to be permitted to return the country whenever he wants, with his only penalty being he won’t be allowed to hunt there.
“If you talk to him, tell him that tourists are welcome here,” Muchinguri-Kashiri said. “No hunting, though.”
When the story broke months ago, Palmer apologized to his patients by saying he was unaware that the lion he beheaded as a trophy was famous. The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force condemned Muchinguri-Kashiri’s decision, insisting that a crime was committed and they would consider legal action against Palmer in the US.
While they continue to deny charges, two Zimbabwean guides reportedly continue to face prosecution in connection to luring Cecil outside of the reserve and facilitating the hunt.
[Image via screengrab]
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